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>. 15 

C.R. Harîngton 




Syllogeus includes papers on natural sciences and closely related topics that are not 
immediately appropriate for inclusion in other publications, and are issued in either 
English or French. Syllogeus appears at irregular intervals, and individual issues 
are available from the Library or the Director, National Museum of Natural Sciences, 
Ottawa, KIA 0M8, Canada. 

La collection Syllogeus réunit un certain nombre d'articles sur les sciences naturelles 
ou sur des sujets qui leur sont apparentés, et qui sont publiés soit en français, soit 
en anglais. Les articles paraissent irrégulièrement et on peut les obtenir de la 
bibliothèque des Musées nationaux ou du cabinet du Directeur du Musée des Sciences 
naturelles, Ottawa, Kl A 0M8, Canada. 

Syllogeus Series No. 15 - (c) Crown Copyrights reserved - The National Museums of 
Canada, Ottawa, February 1978. Printed in Canada 

ISSN 0704-576X 


FIGURE 1. A restoration of Bison crassicornis bulls fighting . Based 
on skeletal material from a late-Wisconsin site in the 
Dawson area, Yukon Territory . Ink sketch by Bonnie Dalzell. 

Digitized by tiie Internet Arciiive 

in 2011 witii funding from 

California Academy of Sciences Library 


C.R. Harington 

National Museum of Natural Sciences 


Syllogeus No. 15 

National Museums of Canada Les Musées nationaux du Canada 

National Museum of Natural Sciences Musée national des Sciences naturelles 






Atlantic Provinces . 14 

Quebec 14 

Ontario 16 


1. Toronto (Don Valley) 21 

2. Toronto (Scarborough Bluffs) 22 

3. Hamilton 23 

4. Ottawa 23 

Manitoba 24 

Saskatchewan 26 


5. Oxbow Dam 27 

6. Fort Qu'Appelle 27 

7. Saskatoon 28 

8. Wellsch Valley 30 









Medicine Hat 




Hand Hills 




British Columbia 44 

Northwest Territories 47 


22. Acasta Lake 51 

Yukon Territory 52 


23. Gold Run Creek 58 

24. Upper Hunker Creek 59 

25. Sixtymile River 60 

26. Old Crow River (Locality 14N) 61 

27. Old Crow River (Locality 44) 62 









Lost Chicken Creek 




Sullivan Pit 


Cape Deceit 


1. Kolyma Lowland (Alioshka Suite) 100 

2. Kolyma Lowland (ledoma Suite) 100 

3. Kolyma Lowland (Utka Beds) 101 

4. Kolyma Lowland (Olyor Suite) 101 

5. Kolyma Lowland (Begunov Suite) 102 

6. Aldan River 103 

7. Bolshoi Lyakhov Island 104 

8. Proliv Dmitriya Lapteva 104 

9. Berelekh River 105 


Thirty-one Canadian and Alaskan Quaternary vertebrate faunas, ranging 
in age from about 1,800,000 to 5,000 years, are reviewed against a background 
of some of the major characteristics of the ice age in northern North America, 
and an attempt is made to outline their chronological sequence. For each 
fauna a list of species is given, and the following points are dealt with 
where possible: suggested geological age, stratigraphy at the site, 
palaeoenvironmental implications, and pertinent references. Where interest 
seems to warrant it, single species or specimens are discussed. Radiocarbon 
dates on bone from Pleistocene vertebrates or from associated organic material 
are included. 

In conclusion, significant features of the faunas are reviewed from oldest 
to youngest and in relation to several faunas of similar age from northeastern 
Siberia and the Great Plains of the United States. Early man is mentioned 
briefly. Evidence suggests that people were present in the northern Yukon 
about 27,000 years ago, and perhaps even earlier than 32,000 years ago in 
southern Alberta. 


Page 44 - lines 34-36. Because the 7,670+170 B.P. (1-2244) date was based on a carbonate 
sample, it is considered to be unreliable Csee Hassan, A. A. , J.D. Termine, and 
C.V. Haynes, Jr, 1977, Mineralogical studies on bone apatite and their implications 
for radiocarbon dating. Radiocarbon 19(3) : 364-374) . Radiocarbon analysis of a 
very small organic residue from the first sample indicates that the tusk is older 
(>11,600 B.P. (I-2244A)) (W. Blake, Jr., personal communication 1978). 

Page 85 - lines 11-14. The date of about 7,000 B.P. now appears to be unreliable, and the 
mammoth evidently died earlier than 11,600 B.P. (I-2244A) . See above. 


no. /. 


I am grateful to Drs . R.E. Morlan (Archaeological Survey of Canada), 
D.M. Hopkins (United States Geological Survey), T,L. Pêwê (Arizona State 
University), and C.A. Repenning (United States Geological Survey) for their 
helpful comments on parts of the manuscript. A great deal of the information 
presented here has resulted from the hard and perceptive work of the late 
Otto Geist and of Dr. R.D. Guthrie (University of Alaska) on the Quaternary 
vertebrate faunas of Alaska, as well as that of Drs. A. MacS. Stalker 
(Geological Survey of Canada) and C.S. Churcher (University of Toronto) on 
Quaternary vertebrate faunas of the southwestern Canadian prairies, although 
they are in no way responsible for my interpretation of their data. 

Ink restorations of the Quaternary mammals were made, under my supervision, 
by Miss Bonnie Dalzell and by Mr. C.H. Douglas, of the National Museum of 
Natural Sciences. I wish to thank Mr. G. Anderson and his staff at the 
National Museums of Canada for the photographs, and my fellow staff member 
Mrs. Gail Rice for typing the manuscript. 

This paper is dedicated to my colleagues at the Academy of Sciences of the 
U.S.S.R.: Drs. A.V. Sher (Palaeontological Institute), E.A. Vangengeim 
(Geological Institute) and N.K. Vereshchagin (Zoological Institute). 


The Quaternary has lasted for about two million years and has been 
characterized in the northern regions by four main glaciations separated by 
warmer phases, or interglacials, during which northern North America appeared 
very much as it does today. In North America, the commonly recognized 
glaciations, from earliest to latest, are known as: Nebraskan, Kansan, 
Illinoian, and Wisconsin. The interglacials are: Aftonian, Yarmouth, 
Sangamon and the present interglacial (postglacial), which began some 10,000 
years ago . 

Glacials and interglacials evidently occurred at about the same times in 
both Eurasia and North America, but correlations between their fossil-bearing 
deposits are still doubtful in many cases. In Canada, evidence for a series 
of glacials and interglacials is clearly visible at Medicine Hat in southern 
Alberta, where the sequence of ice-age deposits extends back to possibly 
Kansan time. A sequence of glacial and interglacial deposits covering a 
similar time span (pre-Yarmouth? to postglacial) at Eva Creek near Fairbanks, 
Alaska, is of key importance in interpreting the Pleistocene history of 
northwestern North America. 

Much of man's evolution has taken place during the Quaternary, and he is 
an important member of the ice-age fauna. Probably he first entered North 
America from Siberia in small hunting groups following abundant game, such as 
the woolly mammoth herds that were exploiting new and rich pastures to the 
east of their Siberian ranges. However, it is possible that man could have 
arrived in America by sea, on either rafts or boats. 

Conditions for migration between Eurasia and North America were most 
favourable during glaciations, when worldwide depressions in sea level 
exposed land in the shallow Bering Strait region. The Bering Isthmus 
connecting the two continents emerged at least four times during the 
Quaternary, and was of greatest north— south breadth during the last two 
glaciations. It was flooded by rising seas as the continental ice melted 
during the interglacials, restoring Bering Strait much as it exists today. 

Many vertebrate species that are often considered to be native to North 
America actually entered from Eurasia during the Pleistocene. Bison, muskox 
(Ovibos) , moose (Atces) , wapiti (Cervus) , mountain sheep and brown bear are 
typical examples. A few mammals that still survive in Asia, such as the yak 
and the saiga antelope, penetrated no farther east than northwestern North 
America, where they died out toward the close of the last glaciation. 
Praeovibos , a muskox, exemplifies a species, now extinct, that penetrated no 

farther than northwestern North America. Some mammals that originated in 
North America, such as camels and horses, migrated west into Eurasia from 
North America. Others, like the woolly rhinoceros of Eurasia and the 
prongbuck (Antiloaapra amevicana) of North America, remained in the continents 
where they originated. 

It is worth noting that some animals originating in southern North America 
or in South America — for example, short-faced bear {Avotodus) , camel 
{Camelops) , ground sloth (Megalonyx) , giant beaver (Castoroides) , badger 
[Taxidea) — reached the Alaska— Yukon region, probably during an interglacial, 
but were not able to cross into Eurasia. Obviously, natural barriers of 
various kinds were effective in restricting the dispersal of some vertebrates 
between Eurasia and America during the Quaternary. 

Expanding continental and alpine glaciers of northern North America not 
only acted as occasional barriers to the movement of land and freshwater 
vertebrates, but forced animals occupying central Canada and parts of Alaska 
to move away from their original ranges. Ice spread out from the lowlands of 
Keewatin and central Ungava, from the mountainous country of the Cordillera 
(including the Brooks Range) in the west, and from the eastern Canadian 
Arctic Islands. As a result, at glacial maxima, vertebrates occupied three or 
four main survival areas, or réfugia: the southern refugium, comprising 
unglaciated parts of the northern United States; the Beringian refugium in 
unglaciated areas of the Yukon and Alaska and extending across the Bering 
Isthmus into eastern Siberia; the Banks Island refugium in the western 
Canadian Arctic Islands; and the Pearyland refugium in northern Greenland. 
Of lesser importance as réfugia for vertebrates were nunataks, higher areas 
of land not covered by ice, such as the Cypress Hills of southern Alberta and 
Saskatchewan; Pacific offshore islands sometimes connected with the mainland; 
and parts of the exposed Atlantic continental shelf. 

Thus, fossils of tundra-adapted mammals such as the collared lemming 
{Diorostonyx torquatus) and muskox (Ovibos moschatus) have been found in the 
northern United States, whereas their natural habitat is at present in the 
Canadian Arctic and Greenland. In addition to the southern refugium, the 
muskox also occupied the Beringian and Banks Island réfugia. 

On the other hand, some species that seem to have been adapted originally 
to warmer climates moved far to the north during interglacial phases, as 
shown by ground-sloth and camel fossils in the Yukon Territory and Alaska, and 
beaver-cut sticks on Banks Island in the Northwest Territories. 

Perhaps the most important migration route between Beringia and southern 
North America was the "western corridor", which runs along the eastern flanks 
of the Rocky Mountains. This corridor appears to have been open to land and 
freshwater vertebrates for relatively long periods of time. Although the 
problem is still being investigated, Cordilleran ice from the west and 
Keewatin ice from the east evidently joined for short periods at only a few 
places in western Alberta. Probably the lack of suitable habitats for many 
species along the length of the route was a more significant barrier than 
temporary, local ice-blockades. 

An interesting question arises concerning the migration of birds. As 
glacial ice spread over their former nesting grounds during glacial maxima, 
did most migratory species shift their flyways eastwards toward exposed tracts 
of Atlantic continental shelf off Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, and westwards 
toward Beringia and its broad freshly exposed arctic coastal plain? Or did 
some shorten their flights and nest in the narrow tundra-like zone along the 
southern margin of the continental ice? Presumably a forceable shift from 
their extensive and apparently traditional nesting grounds in the Canadian 
Arctic Islands to more marginal areas would have significantly reduced the 
populations of some species. 

Many dispersal routes appear to have been used by North American fresh- 
water fishes to reoccupy formerly glaciated regions during the postglacial. 
Routes most commonly used were to the southeast via the Yukon and the 
Mackenzie systems and east into the central Arctic from the Beringian refugium; 
to the north from the Pacific refuge (unglaciated northern Washington and 
Oregon region) ; and northwestward from the Mississippi refuge [unglaciated 
parts of the Mississippi drainage system) . 

Although much more work on Quaternary vertebrates in Canada and Alaska 
remains to be done, a map of faunal localities (Figure 2) clearly shows the 
relative barrenness of central Canada in this respect. A combination of 
extensive Precambrian rock, severe climate, and heavy multiple glaciation 
militated against occupation of that region by a great variety of vertebrates 
and against adequate preservation of faunal remains that might have been 
present. Similarly, heavy Cordilleran glaciation has undoubtedly resulted in 
the destruction of many potential ice age vertebrate localities, although the 
interior of British Columbia offers possibilities. The interglacial grassland 
that occupied that region may have provided another favourable route for 
migration of vertebrates between Beringia and southern North America, 

Wisconsin glacial ice began melting back about 17,000 years ago, and most 
of it had disappeared by 7,000 years ago. During periods when the ice paused 

FIGURE 2. Maps showing localities of Quaternary vertebrates of Canada and 

Alaska that are described in the text. Inset map in lower corner 
shows localities in western Alaska. 

Key (with the names of Quaternary vertebrate faunal localities capitalized) : 

I. Donkin, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. 2. Milford Station, Nova Scotia. 
3. Debert, Nova Scotia. 4. Hillsborough, New Brunswick. 5. Jacquet River, New 
Brunswick. 6. Saint- Jogues , Québec. 7. Sainte-Anne-des-Monts , Québec. 8. Sept- 
Tles, Québec. 9. Rivière aux Outardes , Québec. 10. Rivière-du-Loup , Québec. 

II. Québec, Québec. 12. Daveluy ville, Québec. 13. Montréal, Québec. 14. Moose 
Creek, Ontario. 15. OTTAWA, Ontario. 16. Hull, Québec. 17. Brockville, Ontario. 
18. Kingston, Ontario. 19. Sydenham, Ontario. 20. TORONTO, Ontario. 

21. HAMILTON, Ontario. 22. Welland, Ontario. 23. Waterford, Ontario. 
24. Muirkirk, Ontario. 25. Parkhill , Ontario. 26. Woodbridqe , Ontario. 

27. Alliston, Ontario. 28. Orillia, Ontario. 29. Sheguiandah, Manitoulin Island, 
Ontario. 30. New Liskeard, Ontario. 31. Moose River, Ontario. 32. Long Island, 
Northwest Territories . 33. Winnipeg, Manitoba. 34. Brandon, Manitoba. 
35. Minnedosa, Manitoba. 36. Rivers, Manitoba. 37. Grandview, Manitoba. 
38. Benito, Manitoba. 39. OXBOW DAM, Saskatchewan. 40. Grenfell, Saskatchewan. 
41. FORT QU ' APPELLE, Saskatchewan. 42. Lillestrom, Saskatchewan. 43. Dundurn, 
Saskatchewan. 44. SASKATOON, Saskatchewan. 45. WELLSCH VALLEY, Saskatchewan. 
46. Kyle, Saskatchewan. 47. North Battleford, Saskatchewan. 48. Cold Lake, 
Alberta. 49. Edmonton, Alberta. 50. Ponoka, Alberta. 51. Killam, Alberta. 
52. Three Hills, Alberta. 53. HAND HILLS, near Delia, Alberta. 54. Site near 
BINDLOSS, Alberta. 55. EMPRESS, Alberta. 56. MEDICINE HAT, Alberta. 
57. Fletcher Site, Alberta. 58. Taber, Alberta. 59. Calgary, Alberta. 
60. COCHRANE, Alberta. 61. Westwold, British Columbia. 62. Kamloops, British 
Columbia. 63. Quesnel Forks, British Columbia. 64. Portage Pass, British 
Columbia. 65. Finlay Forks, British Columbia. 66. Babine Lake, British 
Columbia. 67. Yale, British Columbia. 68. Vancouver, British Columbia. 
69. Saanich Peninsula, Vancouver Island, British Columbia. 70. Courtenay , 
British Columbia. 71. Canyon Site, Yukon Territory. 72. DAWSON AREA, Yukon 
Territory. 73. SIXTYMILE RIVER and Miller Creek, Yukon Territory. 74. LOST 
CHICKEN CREEK, Alaska. 75. Whitestone River, Yukon Territory . 76. Old Crow 
settlement, Yukon Territory . 77. OLD CROW BASIN, Yukon Territory. 
78. Hersahel Island, Yukon Territory . 79. Sagavanirktok River, Alaska. 
80. Ikpikpuk River, Alaska. 81. Kuk River, Alaska. 82. Point Lay, Alaska. 
83. CAPE DECEIT, Alaska. 84. Eschscholtz Bay, Alaska. 85. Richards Island, 
Northwest Territories . 86. Rat River, Northwest Territories. 87. Arctic Red 
River, Northwest Territories . 88. Nicholson Peninsula, Northwest Territories . 
89. Baillie Islands, Northwest Territories. 90. ACASTA LAKE, Northwest 
Territories . 91. Lower Carp Lake, Northwest Territories . 92. Yellowknife , 
Northwest Territories . 93. Grant Lake, Northwest Territories . 94. Ferguson Lake, 
Victoria Island, Northwest Territories . 95. Pelly Bay, Northwest Territories . 
96. Masik River, Banks Island, Northwest Territories . 97. Worth Point, Banks 
Island, Northwest Territories . 98. Bernard River, Banks Island, Northwest 
Territories . 99. Ballast Brook, Banks Island, Northwest Territories . 
100. Cape James Ross, Melville Island, Northwest Territories . 101. Goodsir 
River, Bathurst Island, Northwest Territories . 102. Resolute Bay, Cornwallis 
Island, Northwest Territories . 103. Cunningham River, Somerset Island, 
Northwest Territories . 104. Truelove Inlet, Devon Island, Northwest Territories . 
105. Strathcona Fiord, Ellesmere Island, Northwest Territories . 106. Alert, 
Ellesmere Island, Northwest Territories. 107. Batza Tena, Alaska. 108. TOFTY, 
Alaska. 109. Chatanika, Alaska. 110. FAIRBANKS AREA, Alaska. 111. Trail Creek, 
Alaska. 112. Nome, Alaska. 113. Inglutalik River, Alaska. 114. St. Lawrence 
Island, Alaska. 115. Nelson Island, Alaska. 116. St. Paul Island, Pribilof 
Islands, Alaska. 117. Unalaska, Aleutian Islands, Alaska. 118. Amchitka, 
Aleutian Islands, Alaska. 


or occasionally re-advanced during its overall retreat, extensive moraines 
were laid down on its margins. Another feature of the Quaternary in 
northern North America is the sequence of vast glacial lakes that ringed the 
Precambrian shield in postglacial time (for example, Lakes Barlow-Oj ibway , 
Agassiz, and McConnell) . At times these lakes probably acted as barriers 
to the northerly movement of land mammals while promoting the rapid 
northwesterly distribution of some freshwater fishes. 

Against this background of some major characteristics of the ice age in 
northern North America, I wish to review Canadian and Alaskan Quaternary 
vertebrate faunas. To make the review more complete, I have attempted to 
outline the chronological sequence of the faunas (Figure 3) . Because 
northwestern North America and northeastern Siberia have been connected for 
long periods in the Quaternary, I will discuss some of the relationships 
between faunas. Several of the most important Quaternary vertebrate faunas 
of northeastern Siberia are described in the Appendix. 

The emphasis is on listing vertebrate species identified from bones in 
fossil-bearing beds at each locality. In most cases, species from a single 
sedimentary layer or unit are treated collectively as a "fauna", but it is 
difficult to tell whether all species identified from each unit actually 
lived in the same area at the same time. This is especially true when the 
remains consist of bone fragments from stream deposits in which reworking 
and mixing of fossils of various ages is possible. 

The faunas considered range in age from about 1,800,000 years to 5,000 
years. For each fauna the following points are dealt with, where possible: 
suggested geological age, stratigraphy at the site, palaeoenvironmental 
implications, and pertinent references. 

Where interest seems to warrant it, single species or specimens are 
discussed. Radiocarbon dates on bone from Pleistocene vertebrates or from 
associated organic material are included where relevant. Early man is 
mentioned briefly. Recent evidence suggests that he was present in northern 
North America about 27,000 years ago, and perhaps even earlier than 32,000 
years ago. 



10.000 yrs BP 
to present 


1 I I 

2 3 5 




t 1 


" 1 1 1 1 

23 24 25 36 38 

-] ' " 



1 6 7 






■ 20 



FIGURE 3. Suggested chronological sequence of Quaternary vertebrate 
faunas of Canada and Alaska. Solid vertical lines 
indicate probable age; broken lines indicate possible age 
Numbers are those used in the text to identify the faunae 

î. Toronto, Ontario (Don Formation) ; 2, Hamilton, 
Ontario (Hamilton Bay); 4. Ottawz, Ontario (Green 
Creek); 5. Oxbow Dam, Saskatchewan; 6. Fort 
Qu' Appelle , Saskatchewan (Echo Lake Gravels ) ; 

7. Saskatoon area, Saskatchewan (Floral Formation) ; 

8. Wellsch Valley, Saskatchewan; 9. Empress, Alberta; 
10. Bindloss area. Alberta; 11. to 19. Medicine Hat, 
Alberta, faunas; 20, Hand Hills, Alberta (Hand Hills 
Conglomerate ) ; 21, Cochrane , Alberta (Big Hill 
Creek Formation) ; 22. Aoasta Lake, Northwest 
Territories ; 23. Gold Run Creek, Yukon Territory 
(Dawson area); 24. Upper Hunker Creek, Yukon 
Territory (Dawson area); 25. Sixtymile River 
(Dawson area); 26. Old Crow River, Yukon Territory 
(Locality 14N); 27. Old Crow River, Yukon 
Territory (Locality 44); 28. Lost Chicken Creek, 
Alaska; 29. Fairbanks area, Alaska; 20. Sullivan 
Pit, Alaska (Tofty Placer District) ; 31, Cape 
Deceit, Alaska (Cape Deceit Formation) , 



Atlantic Provinces 

No important Quaternary vertebrate faunas are known from the Atlantic 
Provinces. Heavy multiple glaciation of the region and the highly acidic 
soils are partly responsible for this lack of faunal preservation. Although 
beaver-cut sticks and unspecified mammal remains probably more than 33,800 
years old CGSC-33} have been reported from a sinkhole in gypsum near Mil ford 
Station, Nova Scotia CPrest 1970), the material has not been thoroughly 
studied and its significance has yet to be assessed. 

Scattered mastodon [Mammut americanum) teeth have been excavated or 
ploughed up on mainland Nova Scotia and on Cape Breton Island (Piers 1912). 
In 1936 a virtually complete mastodon skeleton was excavated by members of 
the New Brunswick Provincial Museum from blue clay near Hillsborough, 
New Brunswick (Squires 1966) (Figure 4) . A bone from the skeleton has 
yielded a radiocarbon date of 13,600 + 200 B.P. (GSC-1222). 

Several mastodon and mammoth (Mammuthus sp.) teeth have been brought up in 
fishermen's nets from Georges Bank and the continental shelf of the 
northeastern United States, where submerged shorelines, peat deposits, 
lagoonal shells and relict sands are present. Evidently Quaternary elephants 
and other large mammals lived there during the low sea-level stage 25,000 to 
6,000 years ago, when the Wisconsin ice sheet was near its maximum extent 
(Whitmore et al. 1967) . 

Beaver-cut wood from organic silt and peat overlying glacial till near 

Donkin, Cape Breton Island, indicates that beavers occupied that area a few 

thousand years after the Wisconsin ice had vanished. The gnawed wood yielded 
a radiocarbon date of 9,590 + 160 B.P. (1-2477). 

One of the most important sites of early man in eastern North America is 
at Debert, Nova Scotia (MacDonald 1968). Evidently a fairly large population 
of Palaeo- Indians lived there about 10,600 years ago. Cooperative hunting at 
the site may have concentrated on the woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus) . 
Unfortunately, high soil acidity destroyed all traces of faunal remains at the 


Marine mammal remains of early postglacial age are relatively common in 
raised beach deposits along the shores of the St. Lawrence River. Fossils of 



Restoration of an American mastodon (Mammut americanum) 
in an open spruce forest. Ink sketch by Charles Douglas. 

white whales (^Delphinapterus leucas) and harp seals (Phooa CPagophilus ) 
groenlandica) have been found in clays of Champlain Sea age at Montréal. A 
ringed seal {Phoaa (Fusa) hispida) deposited in place in Champlain Sea clay 
near Hull probably lived during an early cold phase of the sea about 11,000 
to 12,000 years ago. It indicates the presence of fast ice near the sea's 
western margin during winter and spring. The restored skeleton is mounted 
and on display at the National Museum of Natural Sciences (Harington and 
Sergeant 1972) (Figure 5). Postglacial walrus {Odohenus rosmarus) specimens 
have been found at nine localities along the St. Lawrence River and the north 
shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence [Harington 1975b). 

In 1916 an almost complete skeleton of an adult white whale was excavated 
from marine clay in eastern Montreal. Another exciting find was a nearly 
complete skeleton of a common finback whale ^Balaenopteva physatus) , which 
came from clay deposits about 275 feet (84 m) above sea level at Daveluyville 
(Laverdiêre 1950). Part of a bowhead whale {Balaena mysticetus) was 
excavated at Sainte- Anne -des-Monts in 1949 (Cameron 1951). Remains of a 
humpback whale {Megaptera novaeangliae) were found at Métis. Only two 
narwhal (Monodon monoaeras) fossils have been reported from deposits of 
probable Champlain Sea age. They are from the north and south shores of the 
Baie des Chaleurs at Saint- Jogues , Québec and Jacquet River, New Brunswick 
(Perkins 1910). 

Postglacial fish remains from Quebec are uncommon. A well-preserved skull 
of a cod (Gadus sp.) was found in a clay nodule at "Goose River" (probably 
near the mouth of the Riviere aux Outardes) (Gruchy 1971), and a cod mandible 
was collected from gray marine silts in the Sept-Iles region. Unidentified 
fish vertebrae have been reported from Riviëre-du-Loup (Dawson 1893). 


The most important Quaternary vertebrate faunas kno;\m from Ontario are 
located near Toronto, Hamilton and Ottawa. 

The history of the Champlain Sea (Elson 1968, Prest 1970) and its 
vertebrate fauna (Harington 1971d, 1972, 1977; see Wagner 1967 for additional 
references) merit a brief description. This sea was an important late- 
Quaternary event that affected both Ontario and Québec. As the Wisconsin ice 
sheet retreated north of the St. Lawrence valley, the Atlantic Ocean flooded 
this depressed lowland. When the sea reached its maximum extent about 12,000 
years ago, it covered at least 20,500 square miles (53,100 sq. km), including 
the area between Québec City and Brockville as well as the lower Ottawa River 
and Lake Champlain valleys. 



FIGURE 5. Restored skeleton of a ringed seal (Phoca (Pusa) hispida) 

from Champlain Sea deposits near Hull, Quebec. 

whales, particularly those adapted to cool inshore conditions, such as the 
white (Delphinapterus leuoas) , humpback {Megaptera novaengliae\ , bowhead 
{Balaena mystiaetus] , and common finback [Balaenoptera physalus) , and the 
harbour porpoise {Phocoena phocoena) penetrated the Champlain Sea and 
exploited its food organisms, as did seals adapted to breeding on fast ice and 
pack ice, such as the harp {Phoca (Fagophilus ) groenlandiea) , the ringed 
(Phooa (Pusa) hispida) , the bearded (Erignathus barbatus) , and possibly the 
bladdernose (Cystophora aristata) . 

Bone from a well-preserved white whale skeleton excavated at a sand pit 
in southern Ottawa yielded a date of 10,420 ± 150 B.P. (GSC-454). This whale 
was probably washed up on a beach of the Champlain Sea during an early 
formative stage of the Ottawa Delta. It has been fully restored and is 
displayed as a composite specimen in the National Museum of Natural Sciences. 
Radiocarbon analysis of bone from several vertebrae of a white whale from 
Pakenham, Ontario gave a date of 10,300 ± 80 B.P. CGSC-2418). Bone cored 
from the centre of the humerus of a bowhead whale from a high (575 feet (175 m) 
above sea level) beach of the Champlain Sea near White Lake, Ontario yielded 
a radiocarbon date of 11,400 + 90 B.P. (GSC-2269). 

Remains of land vertebrates — such as hare, presumably the snowshoe hare 
(Lepus americanus) , from clay deposits at Montréal, eastern chipmunk {Tamias 
striatus) from marine gravels and sands near Moose Creek, Ontario, and 
American marten {Martes americana) from near Ottawa — suggest the presence of 
boreal and hardwood forest along the edges of the receding sea. The skull and 
part of the vertebral column and forelimbs of the marten are well preserved in 
both halves of a split nodule from Green Creek (Figure 6) (Harington 1972). 

Birds, possibly shore birds, fed along the sea beaches. They are 
represented by imprints of feathers in Green Creek nodules, most of a vertebra 
from sands in southern Ottawa, and unspecified bones from the Leda Clay at 
Montreal . 

Fish specimens such as capelin {Mallotus villosus) , sculpin [Artediellus 
uncinatus) , three-spined stickleback {Gasterosteus aculeatus) , lake trout 
{Salvelinus ( Cristivomer) namaycush) , and possibly smelt (Osmerus mordax) and 
lumpfish [Cyclopterus lumpus) are preserved in clay nodules from Green Creek, 
indicating that a cool marine coastal habitat fed by streams from nearby deep 
lakes existed near Ottawa about 10,000 years ago. 

Based largely on evidence from the shells of marine molluscs (Elson 1969, 
Wagner 1970), the early Champlain Sea environment was probably similar to that 
of the Gulf of St. Lawrence today, where most vertebrate species that occupied 

3 cm 

FIGURE 6. Right side of the skull of an Amevioan marten (Martes 
americana) preserved in a calcareous clay nodule of 
Champlain Sea age from Green Creek near Ottawa, Ontario. 




the inland sea are still found. During its later phases, the Champlain Sea 
became warmer and less saline until it reached the freshwater phase 
(Lampsilis Lake), which may have occurred between about 10,000 and 8,000 years 
ago. Finally, the Lampsilis Lake drained and the landscape assumed its 
present character. 

Of the mammoth [Mammuthus sp.) and mastodon [Mammut ameviaanum) remains 
found in Ontario, those of the mastodons are by far the most abundant, and 
present an interesting problem. At least 62 occurrences of mastodons are 
known from the province; they are mainly from southern Ontario and are of 
postglacial age, between 12,900 and 9,000 years old according to some 
radiocarbon dates. Dreimanis (1967, 1968) has produced evidence to show that 
mastodons were especially adapted to open spruce woodlands or spruce forests, 
and has suggested that their extinction in southern Ontario was initiated by 
rapidly increasing dryness 10,000 to 11,000 years ago, which caused the spruce 
forests to retreat to moister lowlands and finally led to their disappearance. 
He believes that growth of an intervening belt of pine and hardwood forest on 
the better-drained morainic areas in central Ontario tended to prevent the 
mastodons from migrating to the more northerly spruce forests, and left them 
to die out among the ever-decreasing southern spruce "islands". However, King's 
discovery (1973) that mastodons occupied pine-parkland in the Ozarks of western 
Missouri and were capable of surviving away from spruce forests argues against 
Dreimanis' s hypothesis. Probably the best American mastodon specimen from 
Ontario is a partial skeleton collected near Welland in 1912. It has been 
restored and mounted and is displayed in the Royal Ontario Museum (Russell 

Most of the skeleton of a woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) was 
excavated from clay beneath a 2- to 3-foot (0.6 to 0.9 m) layer of peat near 
Muirkirk (Lambe 1898). The specimen is in the National Museums of Canada 
collections. Organic material with a woolly-mammoth tooth buried deeply in 
gravels near Woodbridge yielded a radiocarbon date of 45,000 ± 900 B.P. 
(GSC-1181), which indicates a mid-Wisconsin age for the mammoth (Churcher 

Scattered remains of wapiti [Cervus elaphus} have been found in postglacial 
deposits at such places as Sydenham, Kingston, Toronto, and Waterford. Grizzly 
bears (Ursus arctos) were present in early postglacial time too, for a well 
preserved skull was found in beach deposits near Orillia. Radiocarbon 
analysis of a limb-bone fragment associated with the skull yielded a date of 
11,700 ± 250 B.P. (Peterson 1965). Fossils from Toronto and Woodbridge 
indicate that grizzly bears lived in Ontario even earlier — in the Sangamon 
interglacial (or early Wisconsin) and mid-Wisconsin time respectively (Churcher 


and Morgan 1976) . 

When they are more thoroughly explored, the Sangamon interglacial deposits 
in the Moose River Basin of northern Ontario may provide an insight into 
Quaternary vertebrate faunas of that region. Skinner (1973) collected a 
cyprinid- fish skeletal fragment and beaver- gnawed sticks from these deposits 
near Moose River Crossing. A mastodon tooth with jaw has been reported from 
the bed of the Moose River in the same area (Bell 1898). 

A freshwater-drum specimen {Aplodinotus grunniens) was ploughed up from 
the former lake bed of Glacial Lake Barlow-Oj ibway near New Liskeard. These 
fishes may have entered Glacial Lake Barlow-Oj ibway from the west during the 
Gimli phase of Glacial Lake Agassiz about 8,000 years ago (Harington 1971e). 

Soon after 12,500 years ago, as the continental ice sheet melted back, 
small bands of Palaeo- Indians , probably caribou hunters, moved into the tundra 
and boreal- forest landscape of southern Ontario. Approximately 50 of their 
fluted spear-points have been reported as isolated surface finds in that part 
of the province. However, few early Palaeo- Indian campsites have been 
detected in southern Ontario. One site, probably dating between 10,570 B.P. 
(GSC-1006, 1028) and 9,750 + 135 B.P. (1-5786), which has produced major 
portions of more than 80 fluted points and knives and many scrapers and 
gravers, was excavated near Parkhill (Roosa 1977). Storck (1974) also 
mentions a possible site near Alliston. Several late Palaeo- Indian quarry 
campsites are known from the northern margins of the Great Lakes (MacDonald 
1971). The Sheguiandah site on Manitoulin Island has been used by various 
peoples for over 10,000 years. Wright (1972) has summarized much of this 


Toronto, Ontario (Don Valley Brickyard — Don Formation) 

Fishes - latalurus punctatus (channel catfish), Esox sp. (pike or 
muskellunge) . 

Mammals - Marmota monax (woodchuck) , Castoroides ohioensis (giant 

beaver), Ursidae* (?Ursus avctos) (tear, possibly a brown bear) 
Proboscidea* (mammoth or mastodon), Odocoileus virginianus 
(white-tailed deer), Cervaloes borealis* (moose-like animal, 
Bison sp.* (bison). 

*From beds tentatively correlated with the Don Formation. However, Karrow 
believes that they may be of early-Wisconsin age (Churcher and Morgan 1976) 


Suggested Age - Sangamon interglacial. Organic material from the 
Don Formation has yielded a radiocarbon date of more than 
46,000 B.P. (L-409). 

Remarks - Fossils are from a 25-foot-thick layer (7.6 m) of stratified, 
cross-bedded clay and sand underlain by the York Till of 
Illinoian age and overlain by the Scarborough Formation of early- 
Wisconsin age. Basal parts of the Don Formation contain pollen 
of a warm flora, which may have required for growth an average 
temperature as much as 5°F (2.8°C) warmer than at present 
(Terasmae I960]. Study of mollusc shells, wood, leaves, pollen 
and diatoms from the deposits indicates that the Don Formation 
was deposited in a freshwater estuary at the edge of a large 
lake that was at least 60 feet (18 m) higher than the present 
Lake Ontario. The kinds of fishes represented suggest a turbid 
freshwater environment, whereas the mammals indicate a partly 
forested area with patches of grassland and lakes or ponds. 

References - Bensley 1913; Coleman 1913, 1933; Grossman and Harington 
1970; Karrow 1969; Terasmae 1960; Terasmae, Karrow and Dreimanis 


Toronto, Ontario (Scarborough Bluffs ) 

Mammals - Tamias striatus (eastern chipmunk), Miarotus pennsytvanicus 
(meadow vole) , Urocyon cinereoargenteus (grey fox) . 

Suggested Age - Postglacial. Associated charcoal fragments yielded 
radiocarbon dates of 5,240 ± 100 B.P. (S-115B) and 5,550 + 70 
B.P. (S-115A). 

Remarks - Fossils are from a band of dark organic soil 4 feet (1.2 m) 
beneath turf covering an outwash fan that overlies a wave-cut 
bench of probable Lake Iroquois age. Undisturbed sands, silts 
and fine gravels overlie the fossiliferous soil, which seems to 
be alluvial in origin. The mammals represented suggest a moist, 
partly forested area with grassy patches (like that proposed for 
Hamilton; see Fauna 3). Mixed forest was prevalent according to 
species identified from charcoal, with fossils of Pinus strobus 
(white pine), Aaer saaaharum or A. nigrum (maple), and probably 
Fagus grandi folia (beech). Shells of gastropods in and below 
the organic soil support the presence of a mixed deciduous- 
conifer woodland, and are consistent with the warm climate 
("climatic optimum") known to have existed about 5,000 years ago. 

Reference - Churcher and Karrow 1963. 


Hamilton, Ontario (Hamilton Bay site near Coote's Paradise) 

Fishes - Esox sp. ("pickerel") 

Amphibians - Rana sp. (frog) 

Birds - Aix sponsa (wood duck), Strix varia (barred owl), Agelaius 
phoeniceus (red-winged blackbird) , Quisoalus quisaula (common 
grackle) . 

Mammals - Blarina brevicauda (short-tailed shrew), Sciurus 

carolinensis Cgrey squirrel) , Tamiasaiuvus hudsonious (red 
squirrel) , Tamias striatus (eastern chipmunk) , Glaucomys 
sabrinus (flying squirrel), Peromyscus sp. (white- footed mouse). 
Ondatra zibethiaus (muskrat), Miarotus pennsylvanicus (meadow 
vole), Miarotus pinetorum (pine vole), Vulpes vulpes (red fox). 

Suggested Age - Possibly 5,000 to 6,000 B.P. 

Remarks - Fossils are from a medium sand to fine gravel layer under- 
lying deposits 3 to 4 feet (0.9 to 1.2 m) thick of the former 
shoreline of Lake Iroquois. The fossil layer has been 
interpreted as an inshore lake-bottom deposit that became 
covered with beach material as the lake level dropped. Fish 
and amphibian remains suggest a lake-margin habitat, bird 
fossils a moist mixed-woodland, and mammals a moist mixed-forest 
habitat with some grassy patches. 

References - Churcher and Karrow 1963; Wetmore 1958. 

Ottawa, Ontario (near the mouth of Green Creek ) 

Fishes - Mallotus villosus (capelin) , Artediellus unainatus (sculpin), 
Cyalopterus lumpus* (lumpfish) , Osmerus mordax* (smelt) 
Gasterosteus aculeatus (three-spined stickleback), Salvelinus 
(Cristivomer) namayoush (lake trout). 

Birds - Unidentified species. Possibly a shore bird is represented. 

Mammals - Martes americana (American marten), Phoaa (Pagophilus ) 
groenlandioa (harp seal), Phoca sp. (seal). 

Suggested Age - Postglacial. Probably about 10,000 B.P., when the 
shoreline of the Champlain Sea was in the Ottawa area, and 
during the formation of the Ottawa Delta. 

*Reported by Dawson (1893). Better fossil evidence of this species is required 


Remarks - Fossils are from calcareous clay nodules weathering out of 
Leda Clay of Champlain Sea age. Two distinct bodies of clay 
exist at Green Creek; the older is undoubtedly marine and was 
deposited in the Champlain Sea, but the nature and age of the 
younger is controversial. Gadd (1961) favours a freshwater 
origin for the younger clay. The nodules contain many shells 
indicating a subarctic marine environment. The vertebrate 
fauna preserved in the nodules is indicative of a cool marine 
coastal environment with patches of coniferous forest nearby. 
More research is required on plant and insect remains in the 
nodules to obtain a clearer idea of the palaeoenvironment . 

References - Dawson 1893; Gadd 1961; Gruchy 1968; Harington 1971d, 
1972, 1977; Harington and Sergeant 1972; Sternberg 1951; 
Wagner 1967. 


No Quaternary vertebrate faunas are known from this province, although 
many scattered finds have been made, particularly of the extinct western bison 
{Bison bison ooaidentalis) in postglacial deposits of southern Manitoba 
(Pettipas 1971). These bison, the long-horned ancestors of the modern plains 
bison (S. b. bison), ranged over southwestern Manitoba about 9,000 years ago 
and evidently were hunted by Palaeo- Indians . 

Leith (1949) and Young (1966) have reviewed ice-age elephant finds in 
Manitoba. Most specimens represent the woolly mammoth {Mammuthus pvimigenius), 
but an upper third molar from Rivers is best referred to the Columbian mammoth 
(W. oolumbi) . These fossils are concentrated in the south-central 
(Brandon-Winnipeg) and western (Benito) parts of the province. 

A skull fragment of a tundra muskox (Ovibos mosahatus) was collected from 
gravels near Grandview in 1963 (Figure 7). Bone from the specimen yielded a 
radiocarbon date of 8,620 ± 190 B.P. (1-1623). The fossil may represent 
muskox herds that moved north from a refugium south of the Wisconsin ice 
sheet, feeding in the tundra-like zone bordering the retreating ice until they 
reached their present range on the Northwest Territories mainland (Harington 

An interesting sequence of Quaternary deposits is exposed near Minnedosa. 
There, bones of ground squirrel (Spermophilus sp.) were recovered from an 
ancient burrow in a silt bed 5 feet (1.5 m) thick that was overlain by 61 feet 
(18.6 m) of sediment, including three glacial tills, and underlain by 16 feet 
(4.9 m) of till. Plant fragments associated with the bones yielded a 


FIGURE 7. Upper surface of a tundra muskox (Ovibos moschatus) 
aranial fragment from postglacial deposits near 
Grandview, Manitoba. 

radiocarbon date of more than 31,300 B.P. (GSC-297). The fossil-bearing silt 
is probably of early-Wisconsin interstadial or Sangamon interglacial age 
(Klassen, Delorme and Mott 1967). 

Evidence for early man in Manitoba has been discussed by Mayer-Oakes (1967) 
and Pettipas (1970) . 


A few productive vertebrate localities have been discovered in southern 
Saskatchewan. The Wellsch Valley fauna is the oldest, Fort Qu'Appelle and 
Saskatoon may be of similar age (probably Sangamon interglacial, but possibly 
Wisconsin interstadial), and Oxbow Dam is the youngest. 

Many scattered remains of mammoths and a few of mastodons have been 
reported from Saskatchewan (Sternberg 1963). The Kyle mammoth, one of the 
most interesting specimens, was collected from contorted lake sediments near 
Kyle in 1964, and was relatively complete but poorly preserved. Radiocarbon 
dates suggest that active ice had left the Kyle area more than 14,000 years 
ago. Radiocarbon analysis of bone indicates that the mammoth died toward the 
close of the Wisconsin glaciation (12,000 ± 200 B.P. (S-246)). 

A rich site deserving further investigation is located near Dundurn. In 
1924 many chert tools and flakes and some shell and bone artifacts were 
excavated from a 6- foot-thick (1.8 m) layer of sand containing freshwater 
gastropod shells, which was overlain by 4 feet (1.2 m) of sticky clay and 
underlain by tough yellowish clay (Parks 1925). All the fragments of bone 
broken by man were stained black. Vertebrate remains from the site include: 
Pisces (undetermined fish vertebrae), Rodentia (undetermined rodent mandibles), 
Cants lupus (wolf), Taxidea taxus (badger), ?Rangifer sp. (caribou), 
Antilocapra americana (prongbuck) , Bison sp. (bison). The basal yellowish 
clay may be a till of late-Wisconsin age, in which case the specimens would 
be postglacial. The new genus "Neomeryx finni" reported from this site is now 
considered to be synonymous with Ant-iloaapra americana^ the prongbuck 
(Simpson 1945) . 

An interesting, but problematical, specimen of a sciaenid fish with 
similarities to Pogonias (a drum adapted to warm marine conditions in the Gulf 
of Mexico) was collected from gravels over 35,000 years old that are exposed 
near North Battleford (Harington 1971e). Uyeno and Miller (1963) record 
remains of cyprinid fishes (Cyprinidae) from deposits near Lillestrom 
estimated to be 10,000 years old. 


The discovery of a bone projectile point or foreshaft at Grenfell suggests 
that Palaeo-Indians hunted big game near the margin of the retreating 
Wisconsin ice sheet in southeastern Saskatchewan. The implement, carved from 
mammoth or mastodon bone, was excavated from postglacial deposits probably 
less than 10,000 years old (Wilmeth 1968). 


Oxbow Dam, Saskatchewan (one mile [1.6 km] south of Oxbow ) 

Amphibians - ?Rana sp. (frog) 

Mammals - Homo sp. (man — indirect evidence from artifacts), Canis 
latrans (coyote), Canis lupus (wolf), Vulpes velox (kit fox), 
?Cervus elaphus (?wapiti), Bison sp. (bison). 

Suggested Age - Postglacial. Charcoal from an ash bed directly 

below the zone where most of the vertebrates were found yielded 
radiocarbon dates of 5,100 ± 250 B.P. 

Remarks - Most bones and artifacts are from a thin layer of ash at 
the base of a dark silty unit that also contained pelecypod 
shells. This unit is overlain by about 1 foot (30.5 cm) of 
bluff silt capped by 8 inches (20.3 cm) of soil, and underlain 
by an unknown thickness of buff silt. Vertebrate species, 
particularly the bison and kit fox, suggest a grassland 
environment, while the mollusc and frog remains indicate the 
presence of wet areas, perhaps ponds or streams nearby. 

Reference - Nero and McCorquodale 1958. 

Fort Qu'Appelle, Saskatchewan (Bliss Gravel Pit — Echo Lake Gravels ) 

Mammals - Rodentia (rodent), Canis sp. (?wolf) , Arotodus simus* 

(short-faced bear), Taxidea taxus (badger), Mammuthus oolumbi 
(Columbian mammoth), Equus saotti (Scott's horse), Camelops cf. 
hesternus (camel), Cervalces roosevelti (^ Aloes latifrons? ) 
(moose-like animal). Bison latifrons (giant bison), Symbos 
aavifrons (extinct muskox) . 

■From deposits near Lebret, across the valley from Fort Qu'Appelle, that I 
tentatively correlate with the Echo Lake Gravels. 


Suggested Age - Probably of Sangamon interglacial or, at the latest, 
Wisconsin interstadial age. Mollusc shells from sand overlying 
the fossiliferous gravels have yielded a radiocarbon date of 
>30,000 B.P. (GSC-987). 

Remarks - Vertebrate fossils are from a series of gravel beds (Echo 
Lake Gravels) overlain by sand and thick till, presumably of 
Wisconsin age, and underlain by another thick till. The gravels 
may be outwash material laid down at the close of an interglacial 
or interstadial by an advancing ice sheet that deposited the 
Floral Formation. Most of the mammals represented suggest a 
grassland habitat. The badger is a particularly good 
grassland indicator. The moose-like animal may indicate 
occasional pockets of moist woodland, but wood remains in the 
Echo Lake Gravels are generally not large and suggest a shrubby 
grassland rather than a parkland environment with many trees. 
Aquatic molluscs found with the extinct-muskox skull (Figure 8) 
probably occupied a mesotrophic to eutrophic body of water at 
a depth of 10 to 20 feet (3.1 to 6.1 m) . Terrestrial molluscs 
indicate the presence of some trees and a moister climate than 
now, in addition to some muddy lake or river banks. Therefore 
the evidence points toward a grassland environment with 
scattered shrubs, a few trees, and persistent ponds and streams. 

References - Christiansen 1960, 1972; Harington 1973a; Khan 1970; 
McCorquodale 1957; Russell 1956. 

7. Saskatoon area, Saskatchewan (Saskatoon, Riddell and other sites — 
Floral Formation ) 

Mammals - Rodentia (rodent), Taxidea taxus* (badger), Mammuthus 
columbi (Columbian mammoth), Equus saotti (Scott's horse), 
Camelops sp. (camel), Cervus etaphus (wapiti), Bison sp. 
(bison) . 

Suggested Age - Probably of Sangamon interglacial age or possibly of 
Wisconsin interstadial age. Stratigraphie studies and 
radiocarbon dates indicate that the Floral Formation is more 
than 34,000 years old (S-426). The similarity of the Fort 
Qu'Appelle and Saskatoon faunas is remarkable, and could indicate 
a general similarity in age. 

*The specimen on which this identification is based cannot now be located in 
collections of the Royal Ontario Museum. 


FIGURE 8. Cranium with hornoores of the extinct muskox (Symbos 
cavifrons) from gravels of probable Sangamon 
interglaaial age at Fort Qu' Appelle , Saskatchewan. 

Remarks - At the Saskatoon Site, sands containing the vertebrate 

fossils are 20 to 30 feet (6.1 to 9.1 m) thick and are enclosed 
by two tills of the Floral Formation. This formation is 
overlain by till of the Battleford Formation (late Wisconsin) 
and surficial stratified drift (silts and clays), and 
underlain by sand and till of the Sutherland Group. Fold and 
wedge structures in the fossil-bearing sand indicate that it 
was probably laid down during the retreat of the glacier that 
deposited the Floral Formation. The vertebrates are similar 
to those from Fort Qu'Appelle, and suggest a basic grassland 
environment. Shells of a pelecypod and of six species of 
gastropod molluscs from the Floral Formation sands indicate a 
fluvial environment. The mollusc faunas of both Fort 
Qu'Appelle and Saskatoon localities may tell more about the 
environments of deposition than about the environments 
occupied by the vertebrate faunas. 

References - Christiansen 1968; Harington 1973b; Lammers 1968; 
Pohorecky and Wilson 1968; Russell 1943. 

8. Wellsch Valley, Saskatchewan (50°39'50"N, 107°52'30"W ) 

Mammals - Xenarthra (ground sloth), ?Hypolagus limnetus (marsh 

rabbit), Cynomys ?meadensis* (prairie dog), Spermophilus sp.* 
(ground squirrel), ?Oryzomys sp.* (rice rat), Thomomys sp. near 
T. umbrinus* (pocket gopher), T. talpoides * (northern pocket 
gopher), Synaptomys (Mictomys) kansasensis* (Kansas bog lemming), 
Pliomys cf. deeringensis* (Deering meadow mouse) , Miorotus 
deaeitensis* (Cape Deceit vole) , Borophagus diversidens (bone- 
eating dog), Lynx cf. rufus (bobcat-like carnivore), Mammuthus 
cf. meridionalis (southern mammoth) , Equus paaifiaus (Pacific 
horse), E. compliaatus (horse), Platygonus sp. (flat-headed 
peccary), Camelops sp. (camel), Antilocapridae (prongbuck) , 
Ovibovini* (muskox) . 

Suggested Age - Late Aftonian interglacial, according to the known 
chronological range of the mammals. It is certainly older than 
the fauna considered to be of Kansan age at Medicine Hat, 
Alberta. Recent palaeomagnetic evidence indicates that the 
fossiliferous unit was deposited about the time of the Olduvai 
Event, approximately 1.7 million years ago (A. MacS. Stalker, 
personal communication, 1976). 

=C.S. Churcher, personal communication, 1975, 


Remarks - Fossils are from a 53- foot- thick (16.2 m) layer of stony 
silt, clay, sand and gravel that was probably deposited during 
intermittent flash floods. It contains stones from the 
Canadian Shield. This unit is overlain by four or more tills 
with beds of sand, gravel, silt and clay between them that so 
far have not yielded fossils. The top till is probably of 
late-Wisconsin age. The fossiliferous unit is underlain 
unconformably by Upper Cretaceous bedrock. Current bedding 
indicates that most of the unit was deposited by streams 
flowing from the south or southeast. Rodent, horse, camel and 
prongbuck fossils suggest a grassland environment. The fauna 
may have lived in an interglacial environment at least as warm 
as the present one. The presence of Microtus deaeitensis and 
Pliomys cf. deeringensis are the first reports of these taxa in 
North America except for those from Cape Deceit, Alaska. They 
suggest a southward migration from the Beringian region during 
interglacial time and a roughly similar age for the Cape Deceit 
and Wellsch Valley faunas. A single molar tooth of Meryohippus 
insignis found with these faunal remains is considered to be 
intrusive because of its different state of fossilization. 

References - Stalker 1971; Stalker and Churcher 1972. 


A number of ice-age vertebrate faunal localities have been found in 
Alberta. The Medicine Hat area is most important, for fossils from various 
stratigraphie levels enable us to reconstruct a picture of successive faunas 
extending from Kansan to postglacial time. Approximately 2 types of birds 
and 29 kinds of mammals are represented from deposits of probable Sangamon 
age at Medicine Hat. It is one of the richest Pleistocene vertebrate faunas 
in Canada. Faunas from Empress and Cochrane are probably late Wisconsin in 

Pleistocene mammal remains have been collected for many years near Calgary, 
Bison and mammoth are occasionally reported from excavations in or near the 
city, and remains of Mexican wild ass {Equus (Asinus) aonversidens) , camel 
{Camelops sp.), and bison {Bison bison antiquus) have been derived from 
postglacial gravels there (Wilson 1974:39; M. Wilson, personal communication, 
1975). Radiocarbon analysis of bison bone yielded dates of 8,080 ± 150 B.P. 
(GSC-1209) and 8,145 ± 320 B.P. (GX-2104). At the Milan Site near Three Hills, 
abundant remains of a herd of Bison bison oocidentalis and part of the 
skeleton of a wapiti {Cervus elaphus) (Figure 9) have been excavated from clay 
and sand underlying till-like material (Shackleton and Hills 1973). 


FIGURE 9. Front view of a postglacial wapiti (Cervus elaphus) skull 

with antlers from the Milan Site near Three Hills, Alberta. 
Whitish areas have been restored. Photograph by D.M. Shackleton. 

Radiocarbon analyses of bison bones have yielded dates of 9,630 + 300 B.P. 
(GSC-1894) and 9,670 + 160 B.P. (1-8579). What appears to be a glacial till 
overlying bones of postglacial age presents a problem that requires careful 
investigation by Pleistocene geologists. 

The Edmonton area has also produced many Pleistocene mammal fossils. Part 
of the skull of a tundra muskox (Ovibos moschatus) was collected there in 
1898. Other Alberta Ovibos fossils have been reported from surface gravel 
deposits at Ponoka and Cold Lake. Gravel pits in eastern Edmonton (Beverly) 
have yielded remains of the following mammals: Mammuthus sp. (mammoth), 
Equus sp. (horse), ?Camelus sp. (camel), and three species of bison (^Bison 
latifpons . B. crassicornis and B. bison ocaidentalis) . Fuller and Bayrock 
(1965) suggest that these species existed in the vicinity of Edmonton some 
8,000 years ago. However, there are difficulties in identifying and dating 
these specimens. Churcher C1968a) has referred six horse metacarpals from 
the Beverly Gravel Pits to Equus (Asinus) aonversidens, and I would refer the 
?Camelus phalanx to Camelops hesternus . Further, it seems unlikely that 
three different species of bison occupied the same area at the same time. 
Perhaps the Bison crassicornis and 5. tatifrons specimens were somehow 
derived from older gravels. The B. bison occidentalis cranial fragment, 
which has two important characters suggesting a closer affinity to 
B. b. antiquus , is probably of postglacial age. The horncore referred to 
B. tatifrons (certainly atypical of that species in its relative shortness 
and high degree of curvature) and the B. crassicornis cranial fragment are 
probably Illinoian to Wisconsin in age. 

In 1974, J. A. Westgate sent me a number of interesting specimens from the 
Apex Gravel Pit near Edmonton. They shed additional light on this problem. 
Biostratigraphic evidence from this pit indicates that bison with very robust 
horns {Bison cf. alleni) and medium-sized horses like Equus scotti lived in 
the region before it was glaciated, and were succeeded by smaller-horned 
bison (S. crassicornis) and ass-like horses {Equus (Asinus) cf. conversidens) 
after the area had been first affected by continental glaciation. A 
specimen of the extinct muskox Symbos cavifrons from a correlative stratum 
at a nearby gravel pit (Harington 1975a) indicates that this species lived 
about the same time as B. crassicornis and E. (Asinus) cf. conversidens . 

Remains of amphibians are rarely found in Pleistocene or early 
postglacial deposits in Canada. Therefore, it is interesting to note that 
large numbers of toad skeletons (approximately 50 were collected in an hour) 
came from fine to medium-grained impure sand of postglacial age near Killam. 
Both the spadefoot toad {Scaphiopus hammondi bombifrons) and the great plains 
toad {Bufo cognatus) from the site are about 100 miles (160 km) north of their 


present ranges. They probably lived near Killam during the postglacial warm 
period that existed about 7,000 to 4,000 years ago, when the prairie (to 
which these species are adapted) extended farther northwards than it does at 
present (Bayrock 1964). I speculate that these toads became concentrated in 
a decreasing area of moistness before finally succumbing to extreme drought. 

In 1961, important human skeletal remains were discovered by a field party 
under A. MacS. Stalker, of the Geological Survey of Canada (Langston and 
Oschinsky 1963, Stalker 1969a). Cranial fragments, part of a lower jaw 
containing two unerupted deciduous molars, and a free second-molar cap came 
from a cliff on the east side of the Oldman River about 3 miles (4.8 km) 
north of Taber (Figures 10a, b ) . Some postcranial material was also 
collected. Evidently the bones are those of a child about four months old 
(Irving 1971). Although the bones have not been dated directly, evidently 
they were found about 60 feet (18.3 m) below the prairie surface, and were 
derived from a layer of sand beneath a glacial till. As the till was laid 
down by an ice sheet that spread over the area some 22,000 years ago, it 
seems that the bones are at least that old. Correlation with other bluffs 
along the Oldman River suggests that the human remains are more than 32,000 
years old (Stalker 1969a, 1977). 

Palaeo- Indians evidently killed and butchered bison (Bison sp.) at the 
Fletcher Site in southern Alberta. Alberta and Scottsbluff projectile points 
were derived from the bone layer, which was deposited between 11,000 and 
7,000 years ago according to stratigraphie evidence (Forbis 1968). 

A cobble chopper imbedded in the braincase of an extinct bison (Bison 
bison oaaidentalis) was found at the Bayrock Site near Taber in alluvium 
approximately 250 feet (76 m) above the Oldman River. Wood from this deposit 
yielded a radiocarbon date of 11,000 + 250 B.P. (S-68). This artifact and 
bison braincase are displayed in the Drumheller Museum. Other stone artifacts, 
including an Alberta point, were scattered among fragments of bison bone 
derived from a blue-stained occupation layer near the top of the section. 
Wormington and Forbis (^1965) have summarized other information on Palaeo- 
Indians in Alberta. Reeves (1969) provides a summary of the 
palaeoenvironments and palaeocultures of southern Alberta. 


9. Empress, Alberta (50°57'50"N, 110°00'50"W ) 

Mammals - Mammuthus imperator (imperial mammoth) , Mammuthus 

primigenius (woolly mammoth), Equus (Asinus) conversidene 


FIGURE 10a. Bight-side view of the cranial hones (dark) of a human 
(Homo sp.) child about four months old. Setting the 
bones into a plaster oast (white) of an older child's 
skull was done to show the relative position of the 
fossil bone. These remains from near Taber, Alberta, 
may be more than 32,000 years old. 

FIGURE 10b. Left-side view of the fossilized cranial bom 
(dark) of the "Taber child". 

(Mexican wild ass), Equus saotti (Scott's horse), Rangifer sp. 
(caribou), Camelops cf. hesternus (camel), Bison bison cf. 
oaaidentalis (western bison). 

Suggested Age - Late Wisconsin. Radiocarbon analyses of unspecified 

bone fragments from the site yielded dates of 14,200 + 1,120 B.P. 
(GSC-1199) and 20,400 ± 320 B.P. (GSC-1387). 

Remarks - Fossils are from a sand and gravel terrace approximately 
49 feet (15 m) above river level on the south bank of the Red 
Deer River. They were deposited in the bed of a fast-flowing 
stream. The presence of caribou and woolly mammoth suggests 
that the fauna occupied a cool grassland or tundra-like 
environment. The presence of the imperial mammoth in this fauna 
appears to be anomalous. 

References - Lowden and Blake 1975; Stalker 1971. 

10. Bindloss area, Alberta (50°57'N, 110°08'W) 

Mammals - Panthera teo atvox (American lion) , Mammuthus imperator 

(imperial mammoth) , Equus (Asinus) aonversidens (Mexican wild ass). 

Suggested Age - Late Pleistocene. As the region was covered by ice 

during the maximum Wisconsin advance, the fossils are probably of 
interstadial or interglacial age. 

Remarks - Fossils are from sandy gravel in a terrace about 100 feet 

(30.5 m) above the present level of the Red Deer River. Boulders 
in the sandy gravel appear to be a lag deposit from a moraine. 
The presence of imperial mammoth suggests that the fauna 
occupied a relatively warm grassland environment. 

References - Churcher 1972; Harington 1971a. 

11—19. Medicine Hat area, Alberta (main localities are Surprise, Mitchell and 
Island bluffs ) 

11. Fauna 1 

Mammals - Homo sp. (indirect evidence of man), Antiloaapra cf. 

ameriaana (prongbuck) , Bison bison cf. bison (plains bison). 

Suggested Age - Postglacial, 5,000 B.P. 

Remarks - Fossils are from a sand unit 50 feet (15.2 m) thick at the 

top of the section. The presence of bison and prongbuck remains 
suggests a prairie grassland like that at present covering the 
Medicine Hat region. 


It should be noted that stratigraphie data presented here have 
been drawn from a chart (Stalker and Churcher 1970) showing a 
composite portrayal of deposits exposed at 12 bluffs along the 
South Saskatchewan River from 7 miles (11.3 km) west to 8 miles 
12.9 km) north of Medicine Hat. As no single bluff exhibited a 
complete section, the thickest exposure of each unit in the 
area was used in the chart. Units whose correct positions in 
the composite section were uncertain were generally omitted. 

References - See No. 19 Fauna 9. 

12. Fauna 2 

Mammals - Homo sp. (indirect evidence of man), Canis lupus (wolf), 
Mammuthus primigenius (woolly mammoth) , Equus (Asinus) 
oonversidens (Mexican wild ass), ?Camelidae (camel), Bison sp, 
(large bison) . 

Suggested Age - Late Wisconsin, 11,000 B.P. 

Remarks - Fossils are from the upper 40 feet (12 m) of a 

60-foot- thick (18.3 m) sand and gravel unit that underlies th( 
uppermost postglacial sand unit. A grassland environment is 
indicated by the number of grazers in the fauna. Cool 
grassland or tundra-like conditions are suggested by the 
woolly-mammoth remains. 

References - See No. 19 Fauna 9. 

13. Fauna 3 

Mammals - Canis lupus (wolf) , Mammuthus imperator (imperial mammoth), 
Equus (Asinus) oonversidens (Mexican wild ass), Camelops sp. 
(camel) . 

Suggested Age - Late Wisconsin. The dating of 15,000 B.P. 

estimated by Stalker and Churcher (1970) seems too old or too 
recent if the ice-frontal positions near Medicine Hat indicated 
by Prest (1969) are correct. 

Remarks - Fossils are from near the base of the lower 20 feet (6.1 m) 
of a 60- foot- thick (18.3 m) unit of sand and gravel that is 
underlain by a yellowish-buff till of Wisconsin age. The fauna 
suggests a grassland environment, perhaps warmer than that 
indicated by Fauna 2. The imperial mammoth evidently occupied 
a warmer environment than the woolly mammoth. 

References - See No. 19 Fauna 9. 


14. Fauna 

Amphibians - Bufo hemiophrys (toad) 

Mammals - Nothrotherium ?shastense (Shasta ground sloth), Canis cf. 
dirus (dire wolf), Smilodon floridanus (sabretooth cat), 
Mammuthus sp. (mammoth), Equus (Asinus) oonversidens (Mexican 
wild ass), Camelops hesternus (western camel), Odoooileus sp. 
(deer), ?Antilocapra cf. amerioana (prongbuck) . 

Suggested Age - Late mid-Wisconsin. 

Remarks - Fossils are from an 80-foot- thick C24,4 m) sand and gravel 
unit overlain by yellowish-buff till and underlain by a gravel 
bed 15 feet (4.6 m) thick. There is an erosional break between 
fossiliferous and till deposits. Most of the mammals, such as 
the mammoth, wild ass, camel and possibly the prongbuck, 
suggest that the fauna occupied a basically grassland 
environment. Probably moist areas and patches of trees and 
shrubs were present too, as indicated by the toad and deer 
fossils respectively. 

References - See No. 19 Fauna 9. 

15. Fauna 5 

Mammals - Lepus cf. townsendi (hare) , Cynomys cf. ludoviaianus 
(prairie dog), Spermophilus riahavdsoni (ground squirrel), 
Thomomys cf. talpoides (pocket gopher), Miarotus sp. (vole), 
Canis cf. latrans (coyote), Spilogale cf. putorius (spotted 
skunk), Smilodon floridanus (sabretooth cat), Mammuthus sp. 
(mammoth), Equus (Asinus) aonversidens (Mexican wild ass), Equus 
cf. giganteus (large horse) , Hemiauahenia ?stevensi (long- 
legged llama), Camelops hesternus (western camel), Odoooileus sp. 
(deer), ?Antilooapra cf. amerioana (prongbuck), Bison sp. (large 
bison) . 

Suggested Age - Early mid-Wisconsin. Radiocarbon analyses of wood 
approximately 3 to 7 feet (1 to 2 m) above the faunal remains 
yielded dates of 37,900 ± 1,100 B.P. (GSC-1442) and 
38,700 ± 1,100 B.P. (GSC-1442-2) . 

Remarks - Fossils are from a 105- foot-thick (32 m) unit of silt 

containing sand and minor clay, overlain and underlain by gravel. 
Most mammal fossils suggest a prairie grassland habitat for this 

References - See No. 19 Fauna 9. 


16. Fauna 6 

Mammals - Mammuthus primigenius C^oolly mammoth) , Equus (Asinus) 
aonversidens (Mexican wild ass), Camelops cf. hesternus 
(western camel) . 

Suggested Age - Early Wisconsin. 

Remarks - Fossils are from a 2-foot-thick (0.6 m) gravel unit 

overlain by sand and clay and underlain by dark-grey contorted 
till. The mammal fossils suggest a cool grassland or tundra- 
like environment. 

References - See No. 19 Fauna 9. 

17. Fauna 7 

Birds - ?Buteo sp. (hawk), Canaohites sp. (grouse). 

Mammals - Megalonyx sp. (ground sloth), Sylvilagus floridanus 

(rabbit), Lepus cf. townsendi [hare), Thomomys cf. talpoides 
(pocket gopher) , Cynomys cf. ludoviaianus (prairie dog) , 
Spermophilus richardsoni (ground squirrel), Microtus sp. (vole), 
Ondatra zibethicus (muskrat) , Erethizon dorsatum (porcupine) , 
Canis lupus (wolf) , Vulpes vulpes (red fox) , Procyon lotor 
(raccoon), Mustela (Putovius) cf. nigripes (large ferret). 
Lynx canadensis (lynx) , Panthera leo atrox (American lion) , 
Mammuthus aolumbi jeffersoni (Jefferson's mammoth), Equus 
(Asinus) aonversidens (Mexican wild ass), Equus scotti (Scott's 
horse), Amerhippus sp . (neotropical horse), Hemiauchenia sp. 
(long-legged llama), Camelops hesternus (western camel), 
Odocoileus sp. (deer), Cervus cf. elaphus (wapiti), Rangifer 
tarandus (caribou), Rangifer sp . (small caribou) ?Alaes sp. 
(moose-like deer), ?Antilocapra cf. ameriaana (prongbuck) , 
Ovis canadensis (mountain sheep). Bison cf. latifrons (giant 
bison) . 

Suggested Age - Sangamon interglacial. 

Remarks - Fossils are from a 95- foot- thick (29 m) sand and gravel 
unit containing stones from the Canadian Shield near its base. 
The unit is overlain by a dark-grey contorted till and 
underlain by black till. The environment of deposition was 
mainly fluvial. Some conclusions can be reached concerning the 
past environment of the vertebrate fauna by considering habitats 
commonly occupied by the various species represented. The hawk 
suggests woodland or open country, while the grouse probably 


indicates the proximity of coniferous or mixed forest. Of the 
29 mammal species possibly represented, 12 are commonly found in 
open grassland habitats, 5 in parkland, 4 in woodland, 2 in 
tundra or coniferous forest, and one commonly in alpine 
grassland; another is associated with water; and the remaining 
3 are variable in their choice of habitat. Therefore, large 
tracts of open grassland with patches of trees and some ponds or 
lakes probably were present in this region of southern Alberta 
during the Sangamon interglacial. Of the species listed, 
approximately one third are extinct. 

References - See No. 19 Fauna 9. 

18. Fauna 8 

Mammals - Megalonyx jeffersoni (Jefferson's ground sloth), Cynomys 
cf. ludovicianus (prairie dog), Mammuthus columbi (Columbian 
mammoth), Equus (Asinus) sp. (wild ass), E. saotti (Scott's 
horse), Camelops sp. (camel), Rangifer sp. (small caribou), 
Bison cf. latifrons (giant bison). 

Suggested Age - Yarmouth interglacial. 

Remarks - Fossils are from an 80- foot-thick (24.4 m) sand unit 
underlying a thin black till containing stones from the 
Canadian Shield, and overlying a thin organic layer containing 
spruce, poplar and willow wood. The environment of deposition 
was fluvial. Mammal remains suggest a predominantly open- 
grassland environment, which evidently followed a moister 
period when woodlands were more common in the region than they 
are now. The elements of this mammal fauna seem to be the same 
as that of the Sangamon fauna. The early appearance of bison in 
a fauna considered to be of Yarmouth age would seem remarkable 
if a probably earlier bison had not been recorded from Alaska 
(Table 1). 

D.M. Hopkins (personal communication, 1976) suggests that this 
fauna could be of pre-Sangamon interglacial age and still not be 
Yarmouthian. In Alaska, the Kotzebuan and Einahnuhtan 
interglacials (which could be a single event) are clearly within 
the Brunhes normal polarity interval, and seem to be younger 
than lavas dated about 0.3 million years old, but are clearly 
pre-Sangamon. Hopkins states that the Yarmouth interglacial of 
mid-continental North America, on the other hand, seems to be 
near the Brunhes -Matuyama boundary and to be approximately 
0.6 to 1.0 million years old. He suspects that this fauna 


"is younger than the mid-continent Yarmouth, inasmuch as the 
fauna seems to be quite modern." 

19. Fauna 9 

Mammals - ?No thro the rium sp. (small ground sloth), Mylodontidae 

(large ground sloth). Castor c£. oanadensis (beaver), Canis cf. 
etruscus (Etruscan wolf), Felidae C^xtinct large cat), Mammuthus 
meridionalis (southern mammoth), Equus ?calobatus (stilt-legged 
ass), Equus saotti (Scott's horse), ?Hemiauchenia blanaoensis 
(Blancan long-legged llama), Camelops minidokae (Irvington camel), 
Antilocapridae (prongbuck) . 

Suggested Age - Kansan. The mammal fauna apparently straddles the 
boundary of the Blancan— I rvingtonian land-mammal ages. 

Remarks - Except for the beaver specimen, the fossils are from a 

unit 25 feet (7.6 m) thick of coarse, heavily oxidized gravels. 
This unit, grading upwards into an organic deposit consisting of 
blue clay, sand and peat, is underlain by bedrock of Upper 
Cretaceous age. The fossiliferous unit was deposited in a 
floodplain. Mammal remains suggest a warm grassland environment 
with some trees and permanent bodies of water. This appears to 
be the first record in North America of the Etruscan wolf, 
which characterized the Villafranchian (?pre-Nebraskan) faunas 
of Europe. Canis etruscus may be ancestral to the wolf 
(C. lupus) (Kurten 1968). 

Analysis of pollen and wood from the organic layer that 
intergrades with the upper surface of the Kansan gravels 
indicates open grassland on upland areas, with trees and shrubs 
along the streams and possibly pine and spruce forests in the 
nearby Cypress Hills. Artemisia is represented in quantity in 
the best pollen samples. The climate during this phase may 
have been slightly cooler and moister than at present. This 
organic layer, with its abundance of wood, is the only one near 
Medicine Hat from which beaver has been reported. 

References - Churcher 1970; Lowden and Blake 1975; Mott and 

Stalker 1972; Russell and Churcher 1972; Stalker 1969b, 1971, 
1972a, b; Stalker and Churcher 1970, 1972; Szaho, Stalker and 
Churcher 1973. 

20. Hand Hills, Alberta (near Delia — Hand Hills Conglomerate ) 

Mammals - Leporidae (hare or rabbit) , Cynomys ludovioianus (prairie 
dog), Spermophilus riahardsoni (ground squirrel), Geomys sp. 
(pocket gopher), Microtus cf. pennsylvanicus (meadow vole), 
Elephantidae (extinct elephant), Equus (Asinus) cf. convevsidens 
(Mexican wild ass) . 

Suggested Age - Middle- to-late Pleistocene. Probably of 
Irvingtonian faunal age or later. 

Remarks - Fossils are from the Hand Hills Conglomerate, which lies 
at the summit of the Hand Hills some 700 feet (213 m) above the 
level of the prairie. Russell reported horse (probably Equus) 
from this formation in 1958. Storer indicates that two 
mammalian faunal elements are present, one of uppermost Miocene 
or lowermost Pliocene age and the other of middle- to-late 
Pleistocene age. The Hand Hills Conglomerate formed as a 
result of deposition by fast-moving streams. The Pleistocene 
mammals evidently occupied a plains grassland with well- developed 
soil. The climate may have been warmer and drier than now, for 
the Hand Hills lie approximately 225 miles (362 km) northwest of 
the nearest modern occurrence of the prairie dog {Cynomys 
ludovioianus') . 

References - Russell 1958; Storer 1972, 1975. 

21. Cochrane, Alberta (Griffin South Pit, Griffin North Pit, Clarke Pit — 
Bighill Creek Formation ) 

Mamma 1 s - Equus (Asinus) aonversidens (Mexican wild ass), Rangifer 
tarandus (caribou) , Bison bison oacidentalis (western bison) , 
Ovis canadensis (mountain sheep) . 

Suggested Age - Late Wisconsin. Radiocarbon analyses of Bison bones 
yielded dates of 11,000 + 160 B.P. (GSC-989), 10,760 ± 160 B.P. 
(GSC-612), and 11,370 + 170 B.P. (GSC-613). 

Remarks - Fossils are from deposits of sand to coarse gravel on 

Terrace 5 of the lower set of terraces on the north bank of the 
Bow River. These deposits constitute the Clarke Pit Member of 
the Bighill Creek Formation. The bones were deposited in a 
floodplain environment. The mammal remains indicate a cool 
open grassland. The presence of mountain sheep and caribou in 
the fauna may be accounted for by their having moved onto the 
western plains toward the end of the Wisconsin glaciation and in 


postglacial time. On the other hand, the heavy erosion o£ these 
fossils may indicate that they were transported from the eastern 
flanks of the Rocky Mountains. 

References - Churcher 1968a, 1975; Stalker 1968. 

British Columbia 

Cowan (1941) provided the first valuable review of Quaternary and 
postglacial mammals from British Columbia. Ice-age vertebrate fossils in this 
mountainous province are rare because of periodic intense glaciation by 
Cordilleran ice. Many concentrations of fossils must have been crushed and 
ground beneath great masses of ice. Even during interglacial phases, remains 
of alpine species undergo particularly heavy erosion in fast-running mountain 
streams, and consequently are seldom preserved. 

The earliest known mountain-goat record (^Oreamnos sp.) is of a partial 
skull from Sangamon, or earlier, interglacial deposits near Quesnel Forks 
(Harington 1971b). Fossils of mountain sheep are uncommon in Canadian ice-age 
deposits. A well-preserved cranium of a bighorn ram [Ovis canadensis) was 
recovered from a gravel pit near Finlay Forks (Rutter, Geist and Shackleton 
1972). Radiocarbon analysis of bone from the specimen yielded a date of 
9,280 + 200 B.P. (GSC-1497). The evidence suggests that bighorn sheep reached 
this northerly part of their range near the close of the Wisconsin, and that 
they had not come in contact with thinhorn sheep at the time. However, the 
presence of relatively large mountain-sheep bones from late-Pleistocene 
deposits in the Yukon make this picture more complex. 

In addition to the mountain goat from Quesnel Forks, other species have 
been reported from gold-bearing gravels of the Cariboo District: ground sloth 
(Megalonyx sp.), Columbian mammoth {Mammuthus oolumbi) , woolly mammoth 
{M. primigenius) , wild ass (Equus (Asinus) sp.), mule deer {Odocoileus 
hemionus) , deer [Odoaoileus sp.), moose (Aloes sp.), caribou (Bangifer sp.), 
and bison (Bison sp.). 

Radiocarbon analysis of the molar of a woolly mammoth {Mammuthus 
primigenius) from terrace gravels near Taylor yielded a date of 27,400 f 580 
B.P. (GSC-2034). This evidence implies that these tundra-adapted mammoths 
lived in the Peace River region before the ice of the last glaciation covered 
the area. They appear to have reoccupied the region after the Wisconsin ice 
retreated, if a radiocarbon date of 7,670 + 170 B.P. (1-2244) on tusk from 
moraine deposits at Portage Pass is correct. 


In 1971 the partly articulated skeleton of a Columbian mammoth {Mammuthus 
cf. Qolumbi) was excavated from silty pond deposits overlain by a thick layer 
of glacial till at Babine Lake. Two radiocarbon dates of 42,900 ± 1,860 B.P. 
(GSC-1657) and 43,800 + 1,830 B.P. (GSC-1687) on wood from the silty 
fossiliferous layer and another of 34,000 + 690 B.P. (GSC-1754) on the 
mammoth bone suggest that the animal sank in sticky pond deposits and died 
there. Palaeobotanical evidence indicates that during this part of the 
Olympia Interglaciation, the vegetation near Babine Lake was similar to 
present shrub tundra just beyond the treeline in northern Canada (Harington, 
Tipper and Mott 1974) (Figure 11). 

Only traces have been found of the vertebrate faunas that occupied the 
southern interior of British Columbia during nonglacial phases of the ice age. 
None of the species identified would be out of place in a late- Pleistocene 
(i.e. Illinoian to Wisconsin) fauna. Remains of unidentified fish, rodents, 
wild asses {Equus (Asinus) sp.) and bison {Bison sp.) from deposits covered 
by two tills near Westwold indicate that those vertebrates, at least, occupied 
the region during Sangamon, or earlier, interglacial time. 

Fossils of Pacific salmon {Oncorhynchus sp.) are known from ?late 
Wisconsin deposits on the Thompson River (Miller 1965). Onaorhynchus remains 
have also been identified from calcareous nodules near Kamloops, but they are 
probably of Tertiary rather than Quaternary age. 

Remains of Pleistocene mammals have been reported from Vancouver Island 
and vicinity since 1895. At least 18 specimens of large land mammals are 
known from Vancouver Island, and over 14 have been collected from islands 
between the mainland and Vancouver Island. The fact that the extinct muskox 
{Symbos oavifrons) , American mastodon {Mammut ameriaanum) , imperial mammoth 
{Mammuthus imperator) , and possibly the Columbian mammoth {M. aolumbi) , horse 
{Equus sp.) and bison {Bison sp.) once lived on what is now Vancouver Island 
suggests that land connections with the mainland could have existed during 
glacial maxima of the late Pleistocene. This is substantiated by what is 
known about Pleistocene worldwide sea-level depression and the present 
bathymetry of the waters between the mainland and southeastern Vancouver 
Island (Harington 1975a). Also, some of the "warmer-adapted" species, such as 
the imperial mammoth and American mastodon, could have crossed large 
floodplains that filled the Strait of Georgia during the Olympia 
Interglaciation. The most northerly ice-age land-mammal records for 
Vancouver Island concern molar teeth of the American mastodon and the 
imperial mammoth {Mammuthus cf. imperator) from near Courtenay. Stratigraphie 
evidence suggests that the fossils, most of them from the gravel pits on the 
Saanich Peninsula, are more than 20,000 years old. 



FIGURE 11. A restoration of the Bahine Lake Mammoth (Mammuthus af. 
columbi) as it may have appeared in its natural 
shrub-tundra environment in central British Columbia 
about 30,000 to 40,000 years ago. Ink sketch by 
Charles Douglas. 

A few vertebrates have been collected from Pleistocene and postglacial 
marine or coastal deposits at Vancouver or on southern Vancouver Island. They 
include the northern sea lion (Eumetopias cf. juhata) , baleen whale 
(Mysticeti) , and killer whale [Orainus sp.) (Cowan 1941). An operculum of the 
Pacific sardine {Sardinops sagax) was recovered from a marine bottom core 
taken at Saanich Inlet, Vancouver Island (Casteel 1975). Radiocarbon dates 
from above and below the specimen are 9,850 + 100 B.P. CUW-678) and 
10,890 + 95 B.P. CUW-688) . 

Palaeo- Indians , presumably adapted to life along rivers, particularly to 
salmon fishing, occupied a site near Yale on the Fraser River in early 
postglacial time [Borden 1960). At the nearby Milliken Site, the earliest 
level was radiocarbon dated at 9,000 + 150 B.P. (S-113) (Borden 1965). 

Northwest Territories 

An early postglacial fauna from Acasta Lake is the only one recognized 
from this vast area. The remaining specimens are mostly isolated finds 
seldom found in stratigraphie context. Repeated heavy glaciation, the 
preponderance of barren Precambrian rock on the mainland, the rather 
formidable climate, and a consequently impoverished flora and fauna have 
militated against occupation of the region by a large variety of vertebrates 
and the preservation of Pleistocene vertebrate faunas. 

Remains of large ice-age land mammals, such as mammoth and bison, are 
occasionally found in the Mackenzie Delta region (Mackay 1958, 1963), but are 
nearly absent in the more heavily glaciated areas of the Canadian Shield. In 
the early 1970s, fossils of the Yukon wild ass (Equus (Asinus) lambei) were 
identified from Pleistocene deposits near Tununuk on the Mackenzie River in 
association with bones of the woolly mammoth {Mammuthus cf. primigenius) 
which yielded a radiocarbon date of 19,440 ± 290 B.P. (1-8578); on Richard's 
Island; and on the sea floor near a man-made island called Immerk. The latter 
find deserves further comment. In 1973, a perfect deeply stained humerus of 
the Yukon wild ass was excavated from beneath 11 feet (3.4 m) of water and 
42 feet (12.8 m) of sea-bottom sediment in the course of dredging for the 
construction of an oil-drilling platform in Mackenzie Bay. 

Vertebrate specimens from beaches on the Baillie Islands just east of the 
Mackenzie Delta suggest two successive types of environment (Harington 1971c) : 
a cool loess-steppe environment as indicated by remains of woolly mammoth 
{Mammuthus primigenius) , horse (Equus sp.), caribou {Rangifer tarandus) , 
bison {Bison sp.), saiga antelope {Saiga tatariaa) , and muskox {Ovibos 
mosahatus) ; and a marine coastal environment as indicated by remains of 

bowhead whale {Balaena mysticetus) , ringed seal (Phoca (Pusa) hispida) and 
polar bear (Ursus maritimus) . The latter group of specimens could range in 
age from Quaternary to Recent. 

The saiga fossil from Baillie Islands is the first recorded for Canada 
(Figure 12). Other specimens have been collected near Fairbanks and near the 
north coast of Alaska. Because saiga antelopes are particularly adapted to 
dry steppe-grasslands, they probably crossed the wide steppe-like plains of 
the northern Bering Isthmus and spread along the broadened Arctic Coastal 
Plain of North America as far east as the Baillie Islands during Illinoian 
and Wisconsin glacial phases. The species became extinct in North America 
toward the close of the Wisconsin glacial, but survives in central Eurasia. 

An interesting exception to the rule that ice-age vertebrate remains are 
generally absent in the heavily glaciated areas of the Canadian Shield was 
the discovery of the cheek tooth of a ground sloth (Megalonyx cf. jeffersoni) 
and fragments of the tooth of a mastodon [Mammut ameriaanum) at Lower Carp 
Lake north of Yellowknife (Stock and Richards 1949). The occurrence of the 
former specimen, when considered with a Megalonyx toe-bone from near 
Fairbanks, Alaska (Stock 1942), and more than a dozen Megalonyx specimens 
from the Old Crow Basin, Yukon Territory, suggests that these large ground 
sloths occupied a fairly broad east— west range in northwestern North America 
during a warmer phase of the late Quaternary (Harington 1970b). 

During the Wisconsin glaciation, muskoxen (Ovibos mosohatus) and caribou 
{Eangifer tarandus) may have survived in a Banks Island refugium. This is 
suggested, but not proved, by a radiocarbon date of more than 34,000 B.P. 
(S-288) on a muskox bone from the Bernard River (Maher 1968); a radiocarbon 
date of 10,660 ± 170 B.P. (GSC-240) on plant debris enclosing a muskox 
pelvic fragment from a locality north of Masik River; and a fragment of 
caribou mandible of possibly late-Quaternary age from sands containing plant 
remains on the south side of Masik River. 

Sticks gnawed by beavers have been collected from Tertiary and Quaternary 
deposits in many localities throughout the Northwest Territories. L.V. Hills 
(personal communication, 1973) has collected them from well-preserved organic 
beds of late-Miocene or Pliocene age near Ballast Brook on northwestern Banks 
Island. At that time, environmental conditions on northern Banks Island 
resembled those in the southern part of Ontario's boreal forest today. 
Beaver-cut sticks, probably of similar age, have also been found in organic 
sediments on west-central Ellesmere Island, for example Strathcona Fiord 
(J.G. Fyles, personal communication, 1971). They have been reported from 
Quaternary interglacial deposits on Rat River and at Worth Point on Banks 


FIGURE 12. Fragment of the left side of a saiga-antelope 

(Saiga tatarica) cranium with horncore ^ from Quaternary 
deposits on Baillie Islands, Northwest Territories . 

Island. At Rat River a beaver-gnawed stick from the base of a 40-foot 
(12.2 m) layer of organic silt overlying an older till yielded a radiocarbon 
date of more than 38,600 B.P. (GSC-120). At Worth Point, beaver-gnawed wood 
was collected from uncompressed peat that yielded a radiocarbon date of 
>49,000 B.P. (GSC-367) (Prest 1970). Beaver-cut sticks from organic 
sediments near Arctic Red River were radiocarbon dated at 9,500 ± 90 B.P. 
(GSC-1814). These reports indicate the great latitudinal fluctuations in the 
range of beavers and their moist woodland habitat since the late Tertiary, 
and provide some evidence of the cooling climate throughout this period. 
Thus, beavers are known to have reached their most northerly limit of 
approximately 79°N in the late Tertiary, retreated to about 73°N by Sangamon 
interglacial time, and reoccupied habitat 2° south of their present 
interglacial limit of 69°N by the close of the Wisconsin glaciation. 

In addition to those from the Baillie Islands, mammoth remains have been 
collected from two islands in the Northwest Territories. Members of 
Stefansson's Canadian Arctic Expedition (1913-18) collected most of the tusk 
of an elephant (Proboscidea cf. Mammuthus) , yielding a radiocarbon date of 
21,900 ± 320 B.P. (GSC-1760), from a site near Cape James Ross on Melville 
Island (Kindle 1924; Blake 1974). This is the most northerly record of a 
mammoth in North America. It is difficult to explain the presence of 
mammoths in this part of the Queen Elizabeth Islands during the peak of the 
Wisconsin glaciation. Perhaps the tusk was rafted along by glacial or sea 
ice. A heavily worn molar of a Columbian mammoth {Mammuthus aolumbi) was 
collected from the rocky surface of Long Island in southeastern Hudson Bay in 
1878 (Bell 1898). Presumably Columbian mammoths occupied grasslands in that 
region during an earlier interglacial. Sternberg's report C1963) of a 
mammoth tusk from Pond Inlet on northern Baffin Island must be regarded as 
doubtful . 

A radiocarbon date of 7,320 + 120 B.P. CI-7796) on walrus bone from 
raised beach deposits near the Goodsir River on central Bathurst Island 
shows that walruses were able to occupy this part of the Queen Elizabeth 
Islands about 2,000 years after the last ice sheet had vanished from the 
region. Large whales, probably bowheads {Balaena mysticetus) , entered the 
area about the same time according to a date of 7,830 + 140 B.P. (GSC-1193) on 
whale bone from a raised beach near Resolute Bay on Cornwallis Island 
(Harington 1975b). Evidently bowhead whales were widespread along the 
southern and eastern coasts of the Canadian Arctic Islands 8,000 to 9,000 years 
ago, as indicated by radiocarbon dates on bone from raised beaches at the 
mouth of the Cunningham River on Somerset Island (8,990 + 140 B.P, [GSC-266]), 
and at Truelove Inlet on Devon Island (8,270 ± 150 B.P. [GSC-991]). 


Fielden (Fielden and De Ranee 1878) collected collared lemming 
(Diarostonyx torquatus) , ringed seal {Phoaa (Pusa) hispida) , caribou 
{Rangifer tarandus) , and muskox {Ovibos mosohatus) specimens from raised 
beach deposits near Alert on northern Ellesmere Island. Presumably they are 
of postglacial age. It is difficult to say whether these mammals spread to 
this area from the adjacent Pearyland refugium or arrived by a longer route 
from the Banks Island refugium. Where muskoxen and caribou are concerned, 
fossil evidence tends to support the latter alternative (Harington 1970a). 

Remains of fishes, provisionally identified as cod (Gadidae) and blenny 
(Stichaeidae) by D.E. McAllister (personal communication, 1975), have been 
collected from calcareous clay nodules of possible postglacial age from the 
western margin of Felly Bay. 

Records of early human occupation of the Northwest Territories are sketchy, 
but interesting. The earliest known sites indicate a dispersal of Piano 
hunters northward into the Barrenlands as the Keewatin ice retreated. 
Possibly they were able to subsist by shifting from hunting bison in the south 
to hunting barren-ground caribou (Rangifer tarandus groenlandious) in the 
north (Gordon 1975). Projectile points about 7,000 years old are known from 
Acasta Lake (Noble 1971) , and Agate Basin points have been collected in 
quantity near Grant Lake (Gordon 1975) . 


22. Acasta Lake, Northwest Territories (65°24'N, 115°51'W ) 

Fishes - Species not determined. 

Birds - Probably Aquila ahrysaëtos (Golden Eagle) or Haliaeetus 
leuaoaephalus (Bald Eagle). 

Mammals - Homo sp. (indirect evidence of man from artifacts and 
hearths), Lepus sp. (hare), Castor canadensis (beaver), 
Ursus ameriaanus (black bear) , Rangifer tarandus (caribou) . 

Suggested Age - Postglacial, 7,000 B.P. Charcoal from the site 

has yielded radiocarbon dates of 4,900 ± 150 B^. (GaK-3277) and 
5,020 + 360 B^. (1-3957). 

Remarks - Fossils are from sand below 4 inches (10.2 cm) of leaf 
mold on the eastern end of an esker. Fish, beaver and 
black-bear remains suggest the presence of forest with streams 
or lakes during the early postglacial. Caribou fossils may 
indicate that the tundra-boreal forest margin was nearby. 
Evidently Piano people periodically hunted caribou in the area. 


References - Forbis 1961; Noble 1971. 

Yukon Territory 

During the ice age, much of Alaska and the Yukon were unglaciated, and 
were occupied by a homogeneous, relatively rich vertebrate fauna. Unglaciated 
areas, such as this part of the Beringian refugium, often provide more 
productive fossil vertebrate localities than do regions that have undergone 
many glaciations, such as most of the rest of Canada. However, stratigraphie 
differentiation of glacial and nonglacial deposits is more difficult in an 
unglaciated region because the till layers that mark the limits of the 
different glacial phases are absent. 

Robert Campbell of the Hudson's Bay Company was the first European to 
comment on Quaternary vertebrate fossils from the Yukon Territory. Between 
1840 and 1852 he saw bones of extinct bison and mammoth on the Pelly River 
near the Dawson area and forwarded a mammoth tibia to the British Museum. 
The first recorded ice-age mammal remains from the Old Crow area were 
collected on the Porcupine River prior to 1873 by the Anglican missionary 
the Reverend Robert McDonald. A concerted effort to study the abundant and 
interesting ice-age vertebrate fossils of the Yukon region began in 1966, 
when long-term projects near Dawson and the Old Crow Basin were initiated by 
the National Museums of Canada (Harington 1970b). Besides these important 
areas, Sixtymile River and Herschel Island are yielding increasing numbers 
of specimens. As a result of this work, sixty-four species of Pleistocene 
mammals alone have been described from unglaciated parts of the northern 
Yukon (Harington 1976 MS). 

Most Pleistocene vertebrate remains in the Dawson area come from near the 
base of frozen "muck" deposits and the surface of underlying gold-bearing 
gravels, which are usually exposed during placer-mining operations. The 
fossils are mainly of Wisconsin age, and have a rather fresh appearance 
because of their preservation in frozen ground. Shreds of dessicated flesh 
have been found on mammoth and extinct-horse remains enclosed in permafrost 
at Sixtymile River. A well-preserved cranium, with articulating mandible, of 
an American lion {Panthera leo atrox) was obtained from frozen silts on 
Hunker Creek (Figure 13). At Dawson and Old Crow, the commonest remains 
collected are horse, mammoth, and bison, suggesting the presence of extensive 
grasslands in the unglaciated Yukon during the late Quaternary, thus 
corroborating Guthrie's observations (1968a) on Alaskan Pleistocene mammals. 

Late Pleistocene mammalian faunas from the two areas differ in that the 
remains of beaver, giant beaver (Figure 14) and muskrat are common in the 


FIGURE 13. Right side of the skull of an American lion 

(Panthera leo atrox) from late-Wisaonsin deposits 
near Hunker Creek, Dawson area, Yukon Territory . 

FIGURE 14. Lateral view of the right mandible of a giant beaver 
(Castoroides ohioensis) from Porcupine River near Old 
Crow, Yukon Territory . Note the long, characteristioally 
ribbed cutting-tooth. These large rodents reached 
lengths of 8 feet (2. 4 m) and may have weighed over 
400 pounds (180 kg). 

Old Crow area, but extremely rare at Dawson (only one specimen of Castor is 
known from Quartz Creek). On the other hand, mountain-sheep remains {Ovis cf. 
dalli) are fairly common in the Dawson deposits, but so far have not been 
recognized from Old Crow sediments. Pending further evidence, it can be 
inferred that the Dawson area had more of an alpine-grassland environment 
during the mid-Wisconsin than did the Old Crow Basin, which apparently 
consisted of extensive grassy uplands with spruce woodland, lakes, ponds 
and sluggish streams in lower areas (McAllister and Harington 1969; Crossman 
and Harington 1970) . 

In the Old Crow Basin, most ice-age vertebrate remains are derived from 
oxidized sands and sandy gravels underlain by grey lacustrine clay that shows 
signs of periglacial influence of possibly Illinoian age. Therefore, most of 
the vertebrate fossils appear to be of late-Pleistocene age (Sangamon to 
Wisconsin). A large, deep glacial lake that occupied much of the basin 
during the Wisconsin glaciation evidently drained about 11,000 years ago. 
As the winding Old Crow River cut down through the basin deposits in 
postglacial time, many fossil sites were exposed. They range in age from the 
close of the Wisconsin (Locality 11(1)), through mid-Wisconsin (for example, 
many bones from Locality 14N) to Sangamon age (Locality 44). Some specimens 
appear to represent elements of an Illinoian or pre-Illinoian fauna. 

In 1967, a layer of late-Wisconsin sediments containing abundant freshly 
preserved skeletal remains of the large-horned bison {Bison arassiaornis) was 
discovered at Locality 11(1) well above the level of the Old Crow River. 
Radiocarbon analyses of bison bone from the site have yielded dates of 
11,910 + 180 B.P. (1-7765) and 12,460 + 220 B.P. (1-3574). A horncore from 
a Bison arassiaornis cranium, located near the surface of the first gravel 
bar downstream from Locality 11(1) and presumably washed down from that site 
during the spring flood, gave a radiocarbon date of 12,275 ± 180 B.P. (1-7764). 
This concentration of bone may have resulted from a herd of bison breaking 
through lake ice and dying, their bones eventually being transported a short 
distance down slope to the present locality. Lack of signs of butchering on 
the bones and an absence of artifacts indicate that Locality 11(1) is not a 
site where bison were killed by people. 

Although most vertebrate fossils from the Old Crow Basin seem to be of 
Sangamon interglacial age or later, specimens of steppe mammoth {Mammuthus cf. 
armeniacus) , large horse (Equus cf. E. (Plesippus) verae) , giant moose 
(^Aloes latifrons) , Soergel's muskox (Soergelia cf. elisabethae) , and 
Staudinger's muskox (Praeovibos prisons) suggest the presence of a middle- 
Pleistocene fauna. Unfortunately, none of the specimens has been found in its 
initial state of deposition. These faunal elements show greatest affinity to 


the Olyor fauna described from the Kolyma Lowland of eastern Siberia 
(Appendix, see Fauna 4), and probably occupied a steppe— tundra environment. 
All of the species mentioned, or their close counterparts, are represented 
in the Olyor fauna, which Sher (1971a) considers to be of Mindel (= ?Kansan) 
age. These or similar species are also represented in early middle- 
Pleistocene faunas from Norwich, England (Cromer series (McWilliams 1967)), 
Siissenborn and Mosbach in the German Democratic Republic, and Tiraspol in the 
southern area of the European part of the U.S.S.R. (Vangengeim and Sher 1970; 
Kahlke 1973). Steppe mammoths {Mammuthus armeniaaus — see Maglio 1973) are 
common and widespread in Eurasian middle-Pleistocene deposits. The large 
horse Equus (Plesippus) verae was originally described from early middle- 
Pleistocene beds in the Kolyma Lowland of Siberia. It, or a closely related 
form, is known from the Old Crow Basin, but has not yet been recognized 
elsewhere in North America. Aloes latifrons evidently had a Holarctic 
distribution from England to North America. A radiocarbon date of 
33,800 ± 2,000 B.P. (1-4225) on an antler beam of a giant moose from the 
Old Crow Basin suggests that it survived until mid-Wisconsin time in North 
America. It has been described from the Fairbanks area of Alaska under the 
name Cevvalces alaskensis (Frick 1937). Soergelia^ once called a steppe-goat 
but which appears to be a primitive muskox, had an early middle-Pleistocene 
distribution extending from Germany to Texas, where it has been recorded from 
Kansan deposits and described under the name Preptoaeras mayfieldi (Troxell 
1915). Soer-gelia has not yet been reported from Alaska, although 
undoubtedly it lived there. Praeovihos is known from England, Germany, 
Siberia, Alaska, and the Yukon. Péwé (1975a, b) considers that Praeovihos 
specimens from the Fairbanks area of Alaska are probably Illinoian in age. 
Unlike Soergelia, and probably Aloes latifrons , it did not penetrate 
southern North America. 

Remains attributed to early Pleistocene mammals such as the southern 
mammoth {Mammuthus meridionalis) , the giant pika {Oohotona cf. whartoni) and 
the plains shrew (?Planisorex cf. dixonensis) have also been collected from 
sediments in the Old Crow Basin (Harington 1976 MS). 

A few miles downstream from Old Crow on the Porcupine River (Locality 100) 
a lens of beaver-cut sticks about 24 feet (7.3 m) long and 2 feet (0.6 m) 
thick was found. It appeared to be part of an ancient beaver dam, compressed 
by the weight of 175 feet (53.3 m) of overlying sediments. The beaver-cut 
sticks are considered to be of Yarmouth interglacial age or older. Large 
spruce cones as well as tree trunks up to 2 feet (0.6 m) in diameter project 
from this basal layer of compact oxidized sand (Harington 1971c). Fish scales 
excavated at this locality from a well-defined shell horizon approximately 
40 feet (12.2 m) from the surface indicate that Arctic grayling 


{Thymallus araticus) occupied- a large, cool, shallow lake that existed there 
some 32,000 years ago. Teeth of the brown lemming {Lemmus sibiriaus) from 
the same horizon suggest that this species occupied wet meadow habitat near 
the margins of the lake (McAllister and Harington 1969). 

An interesting find from Miller Creek in the Sixtymile area consisted of 
Arctic lupine seeds probably more than 10,000 years old, which were found in 
collared-lemming [Dicrostonyx torquatus) burrows deeply buried in 
perennially frozen silt. The seeds had evidently been part of a food store 
of the lemmings. Seven of the two dozen seeds collected germinated, and one 
blossomed in a greenhouse at the Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa 
(Porsild, Harington and Mulligan 1967; Black 1967). 

Remains of the following vertebrates, evidently eroded from ice-age 
deposits, have been collected from Herschel Island: dog (Cants familiaris) , 
mammoth {Mammuthus sp.), Yukon wild ass (Equus CAsinus) lambei) , large-horned 
bison {Bison cf. orassiaovnis') , extinct muskox (?Bodtherium sp.), and tundra 
muskox {Ovibos mosahatus) . Of these specimens, the dog mandible with teeth 
is perhaps the most interesting, because it could indicate the presence of 
early man along the Arctic coast of the Yukon in late-Pleistocene time. It 
was collected with mammoth ivory from the southwesternmost spit of the island. 
I suspect that it is of Pleistocene age, because both ramus and teeth are 
deeply stained, and the worn surfaces of the teeth are black as are similar 
specimens of Pleistocene age from the Old Crow Basin. 

Pleistocene vertebrates are rarely found in their original state of 
deposition in the Yukon Territory. The Whitestone mammoth is a notable 
exception. In 1967, much of the articulated skeleton of a woolly mammoth 
{Mammuthus primigenius) , including a complete skull, was excavated on the 
Whitestone River. Bone from this specimen was radiocarbon dated at 
30,300 ± 2,000 B.P. (1-3576) . 

No fish fossils have been found, and only one bird specimen is known from 
late-Pleistocene deposits in the Dawson area. It consists of a coracoid 
fragment of a hawk {Buteo sp.), probably the Red-tailed Hawk (B. jamaiaensis) 
or the Rough-legged Hawk (B. lagopus) (H. Savage, personal communication, 1974), 
from muck deposits on Dominion Creek. 

Fish and bird specimens are not uncommon in the Old Crow Basin deposits. 
Many good fossils of pike {Esox luoius) have been identified. Among the birds 
recorded are: ducks, geese, loons, grebes, gulls, shore birds, grouse or 
ptarmigan, and birds of prey (G.R. Fitzgerald, personal communication, 1976). 


Only indirect evidence of early man is available in the Yukon Territory. 
In 1966, a fleshing tool made from a caribou tibia was found at Locality 14N 
on the Old Crow River. A radiocarbon analysis of bone apatite from this 
artifact yielded a date of 27,000 !2'oOO ^•^- (GX-1640) , while similar 
analyses of mammoth long-bone fragments flaked by man from this site gave 
dates of 25,750 ^J'500 ^•'^- CGX-1568) and 29,100 !2'oOO ^•^- CGX-1567). 
Evidence suggests that these artifacts had been worked when the bone was 
fresh. Collagen from unworked mammoth and bison bones from Locality 14N 
gave dates of 22,600 ± 600 B.P. (1-3573) and 33,800 ± 2,000 B.P. (1-4227) 
respectively. Since that time, approximately 100 artifacts have been 
identified from more than 30 fossil localities in the Old Crow Basin, and 
perhaps more than 100 bones have been broken by man (as indicated by spiral 
fractures; further research is needed to establish whether spiral fractures 
can also be caused by processes in nature) (Irving and Harington 1973; 
Harington, Bonnichsen and Morlan 1975; Morlan and Bonnichsen 1975). Among 
the more interesting of these specimens are the front part of a horse 
mandible bearing several polished facets and the lower part of a caribou 
antler with four well-defined facets on its base. The antler may have been 
used as a pestle. Various chert and obsidian artifacts of uncertain age, 
including four bifaces, have been found in sedimentary deposits of the Old 
Crow Basin (Harington 1975c; Irving and Cinq-Mars 1974). 

In 1973 a punch made from part of a caribou antler-beam was collected 
with ice-age mammal remains on Hunker Creek near Dawson. Radiocarbon 
analysis of another caribou antler from the same site as the punch yielded 
a date of 23,900 + 470 B.P. (I-8S80). This is the first evidence suggesting 
the presence of early man in this higher region of the Yukon near the margin 
of the Wisconsin ice (Harington 1975d) . 

The oldest radiocarbon-dated evidence for man's presence in the 
southwestern Yukon consists of the remains of a bison hunter's camp at the 
Canyon Site on the Aishihik River. There, Piano-like bifaces were 
associated with fragments of bison iBison sp.) around a buried hearth. 
Charcoal from the hearth has yielded a radiocarbon date of 7,195 ± 100 B.P. 
(SI-1117) (Workman 1974). 


2 3. Gold Run Creek, Yukon Territory (Dawson area — 63°43.5'N, 138°41'W ) 

Mammals - Canis lupus (wolf), Avctodus simus yukonensis (Yukon short- 
faced bear) , Taxidea taxus (badger) , Panthera leo atrox 
(American lion) , Mammut americanum (American mastodon) , 

Mammuthus primigenius (woolly mammoth), Equus (Asinus) lamhei 
(Yukon wild ass), Equus (Asinus) cf. kiang (Kiang-like wild ass), 
Aloes aloes (moose), Rangifer tarandus (caribou). Bison 
alaskensis (Alaskan bison) , B. orassioornis (large-horned bison), 
?Bo'ôtherium sp. (extinct muskox) . 

Suggested Age - Probably late Wisconsin. Bison arassiaornis 
(Frontispiece: Figure 1) and mammoth bone have yielded 
radiocarbon dates of 22,200 ± 1,400 B.P. (1-3570) and 
32,350 ± 1,750 B.P. (1-4226) respectively. B. alaskensis is 
evidently older than the remainder of the fauna, for bone from a 
specimen gave a date of >39,900 B.P. (1-5405). 

Remarks - Fossils are from muck (frozen silt, generally consisting 
of loess or reworked loess with some organic matter) near the 
surface of underlying gold-bearing gravel, which may be of 
interglacial age. The mammals represented suggest that 
extensive tracts of cool steppe-like grassland covered upland 
areas in the region during the late Wisconsin. Patches of 
forest may have been located in valleys. Because of the 
relatively high density of the bones, it would appear that many 
of the vertebrates were transported down-slope from the former 
grassland toward the end of the Wisconsin glaciation and 
became concentrated near the surface of local creek-gravels. 
Perhaps 8 of the 13 species represented are extinct, and 2 are 
no longer living in the Yukon Territory. 

Reference - Harington and Clulow 1973. 

24. Upper Hunker Creek, Yukon Territory (Dawson area — 63°55'N, 138°52'W ) 

Mammals - Homo sp. (indirect evidence of man from an artifact), 
Spermophilus parryi (arctic ground squirrel), Canis lupus 

(wolf), Panthera leo atvox (American lion), Mammuthus 
primigenius (woolly mammoth), Equus (Asinus) lambei (Yukon wild 
ass) , Rangifer tarandus (caribou) , Bison orassiaornis (large- 
horned bison), Symbos oavifrons (extinct muskox), Ovis cf. dalli 

(large mountain sheep) . 

Suggested Age - Probably late Wisconsin. Radiocarbon analysis of a 

caribou antler from the site yielded a date of 23,900 ± 470 B.P. 
(1-8580) . 

Remarks - The stratigraphie sequence is like that at Gold Run Creek. 
Fossils are mainly from muck near the surface of the underlying 
gold-bearing gravel. The muck layer reaches a thickness of 


about 30 feet (9.1 m) at this locality. Paleoenvironment is 
similar to that postulated for the Gold Run Creek fauna. A 
bullet-shaped artifact made from caribou antler was found with 
remains of other Pleistocene mammals from the locality. It 
suggests that people occupied this region during the late 
Wisconsin. On the basis of this evidence, I speculate that they 
had means of making bone tools, and were able to produce stone 
tools using the indirect percussion technique. 

Reference - Harington 1975d. 

25. Sixtymile River, Yukon Territory (64°00'N, 140°47'W ) 

Mammals - Panthera leo atrox CAmerican lion) , Mammuthus primigenius 
(woolly mammoth), Equus (Asinus) lambei (Yukon wild ass), 
Equus cf. sootti (Scott's horse), Camelops hesternus (western 
camel) , Rangifer tarandus (caribou) , Cervidae (caribou-like 
cervid) , Bison arassiaovnis (large-horned bison) , Ovibos 
moschatus (tundra muskox) , Ovis cf. dalli (large mountain sheep). 

Suggested Age - Probably late Wisconsin, according to affinities 
with faunas considered to be of this age from Upper Hunker 
Creek, Yukon Territory (Fauna 24) and Lost Chicken Creek, 
Alaska (Fauna 28) , 

Remarks - Fossils lay between 2 and 10 feet (0.6 to 3.1 m) from the 
bottom of a layer of muck 10 to 20 feet (3.1 to 6.1 m) thick 
that overlies 6 feet (1.8 m) of gold-bearing gravel, which, in 
turn, rests on bedrock. A well-preserved Bison orassioornis 
skull was collected in place in muck 2.5 feet (0.8 m) above the 
gravel surface. The mammals suggest a cool steppe-like 
grassland. Collared lemming (^Dicrostonyx torquatus) , woolly 
mammoth {Mammuthus cf. primigenius) , Yukon wild ass {Equus 
(Asinus) cf. lambei) and caribou (Rangifer tarandus) have 
previously been identified from muck deposits near the mouth of 
Sixtymile River (Porsild, Harington and Mulligan 1967). Earlier 
still, L.M. Lambe identified remains of mammoth, bison, and a 
horse smaller in size than Equus sootti (probably the Yukon wild 
ass) in the lower part of the muck overlying thick bench gravels 
of Claims 11 to 19 on the left limit of Sixtymile River 
(Cockfield 1921). 

References - Cockfield 1921; Harington, 1975 field notes; Porsild, 
Harington and Mulligan 1967. 


26. Old Crow River, Yukon Territory (Locality 14N — 67°51'N, 159°46'W ) 

Fishes - Species not determined. 

Birds - Tetraonidae (ptarmigan or grouse) and other undetermined 
species . 

Mammals - Homo sp. (indirect evidence of man from artifacts), 

Oahotona cf. whartoni (giant pika) , Lepus aratiaus (arctic hare), 
Lepus amerioanus (snowshoe hare) , Castor canadensis (beaver) , 
Castoroides ohioensis (giant beaver) , Ondatra zibethious 
(muskrat) , Miarotus (Stenoaranius ) miurus (singing vole), 
Cuon sp. (dhole), Alopex lagopus (arctic fox), Gulo gulo 
(wolverine) , Panthera leo atrox (American lion) , Felidae 
(?scimitar or sabretooth cat), Mammut ameriaanum (American 
mastodon) , Mammuthus primigenius (woolly mammoth) , Equus cf. 
(Plesippus) verae (large horse), Camelops hesternus (western 
camel). Aloes alaes (moose), Rangifer tarandus (caribou). 
Bison orassiaornis (large-horned bison). 

Suggested Age - Evidently most of the specimens are of mid-to-late 
Wisconsin, but the giant pika fossil may be of early 
Pleistocene age. Five radiocarbon dates on mammal bone fall 
between 22,000 and 36,000 B.P. (see section on early man, 
p, 58, for details of these radiocarbon dates). 

Radiocarbon dates on the wood and the mollusc shells associated 
with the vertebrate remains show that organic material of mixed 
ages has been deposited at the site. A careful stratigraphie 
study of Locality 14N indicates that the fossil -bearing 
sediments are point-bar deposits formed within the last few 
thousand years. 

Remarks - Fossils are from an oxidized unit of grey sandy gravel 
averaging about 1.5 feet (0.5 m) thick, overlain by 
approximately 13 feet (4.0 m) of brown sandy clay, and underlain 
by more than 2 feet (0.6 m) of jointed, oxidized clay evidently 
corresponding to the basal clay unit at Locality 44. The 
fossil-bearing unit and the overlying sandy clay unit were 
probably laid down in postglacial time. Vertebrate faunal 
evidence suggests that the species represented lived in a 
parkland type of environment during a period of transition to a 
cool climate (Wisconsin) from a warmer one (?Sangamon 
interglacial). This site provided the first evidence that man 
occupied eastern Beringia before the peak of the Wisconsin 


References - Harington 1970b^, 1975c; Irving and Harington 1973. 

27. Old Crow River, Yukon Territory (Locality 44, Unit 2 — 
68°12.6'N, 140°00'W ) 

Fishes - Species not determined. 

Birds - Anatinae or Aythyinae (^surface feeding or diving ducks), 
Anserinae (geese) , Tetraonidae (ptarmigan or grouse) . 

Mammals - Oahotona princeps (pika) , Lepus arctiaus (arctic hare) , 

Spermophilus parryi (arctic ground squirrel). Castor canadensis 
(beaver), Castoroides ohioensis (giant beaver), Diarostonyx 
torquatus (collared lemming) , Lemmus sibiriaus (brown lemming) , 
Clethrionomys cf. rutilus (red-backed vole). Ondatra zibethious 
(muskrat), Miorotus xanthognathus (chestnut-cheeked vole), 
?Canis sp. (canid) , Alopex lagopus (fox), Mustela sp. (weasel), 
Gulo gulo (wolverine), Spilogale sp. (spotted skunk), 
Mammuthus sp. (mammoth) , Equus cf. (Plesippus ) verae (large 
horse), Camelini (large camel), Rangifer tarandus (caribou). 

Suggested Age - Possibly of Sangamon interglacial age (more than 
54,000 years old). Five radiocarbon dates on specimens from 
Unit 2 are infinite: bone from Equus sp. and Mammuthus sp. 
both yielded dates of >39,900 B.P. (1-4223, 1-4228); a sample 
of unidentified wood gave the same age (1-3572); spruce 
(Picea sp.) wood yielded dates of >44,000 B.P. (GSC-1593) and 
>54,000 B.P. (GSC-2066). 

In addition to the radiocarbon dates provided, the following 
evidence suggests that the fossil-bearing unit is of Sangamon 

(a) analysis of plant macrofossils and invertebrates indicates 
that the climate was probably as warm as at present; 

(b) a significant change in climate from cold (dwarf birch) to 
warmer (spruce-birch) is reflected in pollen assemblage 
changes from the basal clay unit to the fossil-bearing unit; 

(c) the presence of the spotted skunk over 1,000 miles (1,600 km) 
north of its modern range possibly indicates a phase of 
warmer climate; 

(d) large conifer logs with roots in the fossil -bearing unit 
indicate a relatively warm climate; 

(e) radiocarbon dates on wood (Piaea or Larix, and Salix) of 
>42,000 B.P. (GSC-1589, GSC-1297) from positions about 25 to 
70 feet (7.6 to 21.3 m) above the contact of the fossil- 
bearing unit and basal-clay unit at nearby sites imply a 

long time-lapse between these points in the sedimentary 
sequence ; 

C£) an important erosional surface appears to exist between the 
basal-clay and fossil-bearing units; 

(g) the great depth of burial of the fossil-bearing unit and the 
fact that it lies between two geographically widespread, 
thick lacustrine units (the upper being of late Wisconsin 
age) that apparently mark peaks of successive glaciations. 

Remarks - Vertebrate fossils are from the base of Unit 2, which 

consists of 1.5 feet (0.5 m) of fine grey gravel with unreworked 
shells and grades upwards through rooted logs and layers of 
sticks to brownish clay silt. The top of this unit appears to 
be best defined by a change in pollen assemblages that occurs 
approximately 30 feet (9.1 m) above its base. This unit is 
underlain by oxidized clay, occasionally containing organic 
detritus, which is more than 11 feet (3.4 m) thick. Overlying 
Unit 2 are approximately 30 feet (9.1 m) of buff silt and clay, 
about 7 feet (2.1 m) of varved glaciolacustrine clay of late- 
Wisconsin age, and approximately 20 feet (6.1 m) of silty 
postglacial deposits. Many species represented by plant and 
invertebrate macrofossils and vertebrate remains have aquatic 
affinities, and suggest the former presence of ephemeral shallow 
ponds and lakes in a river floodplain with sandy margins in 
places, and with forest areas or open forest nearby. Forest- 
tundra may best describe the vegetation that existed when Unit 2 
was deposited, but probably more grasses were present than in 
the contemporary forest— tundra of the region. 

References - Harington 1971c, 1974; Lichti-Federovich 1973; 
Matthews 1975. 


Since the Russian Admiral Kotzebue first published an account in 1821 
mentioning ice-age mammal fossils from Eschscholtz Bay, a great deal has 
become known about Pleistocene vertebrates of Alaska. The bulk of this 
information has come from the Fairbanks area, where an extensive collecting 
program was initiated in 1928 with the beginning of large-scale gold mining 
there. Although tens of thousands of specimens from placer localities near 
Fairbanks are stored in the Frick Collection of the American Museum of Natural 
History in New York, their potential value is diminished by the lack of 
accompanying stratigraphie data. 


Detailed and extensive stratigraphie studies of Pleistocene deposits, 
by T.L. Péwé and D.M. Hopkins in particular, have contributed greatly to 
overcoming this problem (Péwé and Hopkins 1967; Péwé 1975a, b ) . Largely as a 
result of their work, an approximate idea of the chronological sequence of 
Alaskan Pleistocene mammal faunas can be provided (Table 1). This 
preliminary model must be reviewed carefully in the future, and corrected and 
augmented as better biostratigraphic evidence becomes available. 

Another weakness in our knowledge of Alaskan Pleistocene vertebrates is 
the lack of detailed published descriptions with illustrations, measurements 
and comparative data. At least 48 per cent of the species listed at present 
must be regarded as floating names lacking firm scientific anchors (Table 1) . 

As in the Yukon Territory, most Pleistocene vertebrate fossils are from 
the unglaciated parts of Alaska. The Fairbanks area in central Alaska is 
extremely important in discussions of Alaskan ice-age vertebrates. Much of it 
lies within the Tanana River floodplain at an altitude of 400 feet (120 m) , 
and the rest lies within the upland, where hills have summits varying from 
1,250 to 1,800 feet (380 and 550 m) above sea level. It is situated south of 
the Brooks Range and north of the Alaska Range, both of which were covered by 
masses of ice during peaks of Pleistocene glaciation. 

Quaternary sediments consisting of loess and reworked loess and stream 
deposits are found mainly in and near valleys. Creek gravel of local origin 
underlies wind-blown sediments in the valley bottoms, and solifluction debris 
underlies this windblown material on lower and middle slopes. The sediments 
are periglacial in nature and now are mainly perennially frozen (Péwé 1975b). 

At Eva Creek mining cut near Fairbanks, an exposed sedimentary sequence 
provides a key to understanding the depositional history and consequently the 
Pleistocene vertebrate faunal sequence of the region. There, more than 
1 metre* (3.3 ft) of Fox Gravel (?pre-Yarmouth) is overlain by 1 metre (3.3 ft) 
of highly organic silts of the Dawson Cut Formation (?Yarmouth interglacial); 
20 metres (66 ft) of Gold Hill Loess (Illinoian glacial) containing bones of 
mammoth and bison; 1 metre (3.3 ft) of silt of the Eva Formation (Sangamon 
interglacial) containing loess and tree stumps, one of which has yielded a 
radiocarbon date of >56,900 B.P. (HV-1328); 15 metres (50 ft) of frozen silt 
with ice wedges of the Coldstream Formation (Wisconsin glacial) containing 

*Péwé (1975a, b) cites measurements in metres. In such cases metric 
quantities are given first, followed by their English equivalents. 


TABLE 1. Suggested Chronological Sequence of Alaskan Pleistocene Mammals 
(modified from Pêwé and Hopkins 1967 and Péwé 1975 a, b ) . 

Age Pleistocene Mammals Recorded 

Postglacial Castor sp. (beaver) 

(includes only the Miorotus xanthognathus (chestnut-cheeked vole; 

portion from about Aloes aloes* (moose) 

10,000 to 5000 B.P.) Bison bison (small-horned bison) 

Wisconsin Sorex cf. arotious* (arctic shrew) 

Glacial Megalonyx sp. (ground sloth) 

Lepus sp.* (hare) 

Spermophilus parryi (ground squirrel) 

Castor sp.* (beaver) 

Dicrostonyx torquatus (collared lemming) 

Synaptomys sp.** (bog lemming) 

Lemmus sibirious (brown lemming) 

Clethrionomys sp. (red-backed vole) 

Miorotus (Stenocranius ) miurus (singing vole) 

Erethizon sp . * (porcupine) 

Canis lupus* (wolf) 

Canis dims** (dire wolf) 

Canis latrans* (coyote) 

Alopex lagopus* (arctic fox) 

Vulpes vulpes* (red fox) 

Arotodus simus yukonensis* (Yukon short-faced bear) 

Ursus arotos* (brown bear) 

Gulo sp.* (wolverine) 

Taxidea sp.* (badger) 

Lynx canadensis* (lynx) 

Panthera leo atrox (American lion) 

Smilodon sp.** (sabretooth cat) 

Homotherium sp.** (scimitar cat) 

Mammut amerioanum (American mastodon) 

Mammuthus primigenius (woolly mammoth) 

Equus (Asinus) lambei (Yukon wild ass) 

Equus (Asinus) cf. kiang* (Kiang-like wild ass) 

Equus sp. (horse) 

Camelops sp. (camel) 

Cervus elaphus (wapiti) 

Aloes latifrons (= Cervaloes alaskensis ) (giant moose) 

Aloes aloes* (moose) 

Rangifer tarandus (caribou) 

Bos sp. (yak-like bovid) 

Bison alaskensis (Alaskan bison) ) , Bison 

Bison geisti (Geist's bison) _ > vriscus?l 

Bison orassioornis (large-horned bison) ' ^ 

Bison bison Csmall -horned bison) 

Saiga tatarica (= Saiga rioei) (saiga antelope) 

Bootherium sargenti (extinct muskox) 

Symbos oavifrons (extinct muskox) 

Ovibos mosohatus (tundra muskox) 
Ovis dalli (Pall sheep) __^_ 


TABLE 1. cont'd. 


Pleistocene Mammals Recorded 


Ondatra zibethious* (muskrat) 

Cetacea* (large whale) 

Eumetopias sp.* (sea lion) 

Odohenus sp.* (walrus) 

Hydrodamalis sp . (sea cow) 

Bison crassicornis (large-horned bison) 

Castoridae* (beaver) 

Aloes sp. * (moose) 


Oohotona ?whavtoni (?giant pika) 

Spermophilus parryi (ground squirrel) 

Castoridae (beaver) 

Diarostonyx torquatus (collared lemming) 

Lemmus sibiriaus (brown lemming) 

Miarotus ( Stenoaranius ) miurus (singing vole) 

Canis sp.* (wolf) 

Vulpes sp.* (fox) 

Cuon sp.* C= Xenoayon) (dhole) 

Ursus sp.* (bear) 

Panthera leo atrox* (American lion) 

Mammut sp.* (mastodon) 

Mammuthus sp.* (mammoth) 

Equus sp.* (horse or wild ass) 

Cervus sp.* (wapiti) 

Aloes latifrons* {= Cervaloes sp . ) (giant moose) 

Aloes sp.* (moose) 

Rangifer sp.* (caribou) 

Bison crassioornis* (large-horned bison) 

Saiga tatarioa* (saiga antelope) 

Praeovibos sp.* (Staudinger ' s muskox) 

Bootherium sp.* (extinct muskox) 

Symbos oavifrons* (extinct muskox) 

Ovibos mosohatus (tundra muskox) 

Ovis sp.* (mountain sheep) 


Dicrostonyx torquatus* (collared lemming) 

?Rangifer sp . * (caribou) 

Bison orassicornis* (large-horned bison) 


Pliomys sp. (meadow mouse) 

Miorotus sp. (vole) 

Mammuthus sp.* (mammoth) ?Kansan ?Nebraskan 

Bison orassioornis* (large-horned bison) ?Kansan 



TABLE 1. cont'd. . 

Age Pleistocene Mammals Recorded 

?Nebraskan Sorex sp. (shrew) 

Glacial Oahotona whartoni (giant pika) 

Marmota sp. (marmot) 
Spermophilus sp. (ground squirrel) 
Prediorostonyx hopkinsi (Hopkins' lemming) 
Lemmus cf. sibiriaus (brown lemming) 
Pliomys deeringensis (Deering meadow mouse) 
Miarotus deoeitensis (Cape Deceit vole) 
Canis sp. (?wolf) 
Equus sp. (large horse) 
Cervus cf. elaphus (wapiti) 
Rangifer sp. (caribou) 

* Detailed published descriptions of specimens are lacking. 
** Doubtfully represented. 


bones of ground squirrel {Spermophilus parryi) , collared lemming {Diarostonyx 
torquatus) , brown lemming {Lemmus sibiricus) , singing vole {Microtus 
(Stenoaranius ) miurus) and mammoth (Mammuthus sp.); 2 metres (6.6 ft) of 
reworked loess of the Ready Bullion Formation (postglacial) , containing wood 
at the base that yielded a radiocarbon date of 10,000 ± 500 B.P. (L-1375). 
Deposits that I correlate with this formation can be recognized in both the 
Old Crow and Dawson areas of the Yukon Territory. 

As Pëwé (1975b. -15) has indicated, the Coldstream Formation is the "greatest 
repository of remains of Pleistocene vertebrates in Alaska, if not North 
America". He accounts for this concentration of bones as follows: the 
Coldstream Formation is a valley-bottom deposit, and most bones are 
transported down-slope to valley bottoms; older Illinoian valley-bottom 
sediments have been mostly removed; and sediments of this formation were 
frozen soon after deposition. The commonest fossils of large mammals from this 
formation are, in order of abundance, bison, mammoth and horse (Cuthrie 1968a). 
Among the small late-Pleistocene mammals sampled from near Fairbanks, the 
singing vole (Microtus (Stenoaranius ) miurus) was most common, indicating that 
the area was above tree line and had well-drained soil (Cuthrie 1968b). 

Probably the most interesting specimens from the Coldstream Formation near 
Fairbanks are partly preserved carcasses of pika (Ochotona prinaeps collaris) , 
ground squirrel (Spermophilus parryi), lynx {Lynx canadensis) , mammoth 
(Mammuthus sp.). horse (Equus sp.), moose (Alces alces) , caribou (Rangifer 
tarandus) , extinct muskoxen {Bootherium sargenti and Symbos cavifrons) , and 
large-horned bison (Bison crassicornis) (Péwë 1975a). The best-known of these 
is the juvenile mammoth specimen collected in 1948 from Fairbanks Creek. The 
well-preserved hide of the head, neck, trunk and a front leg is about 6 mm 
(^ in.) thick and almost hairless. A sample of the hide yielded a seemingly 
reasonable radiocarbon date of 21,300 ± 1,300 B.P. (L-601), but the date could 
be questioned because the carcass was preserved in commercial glycerine. Hair 
preserved with the skull and tusks of a mammoth from Dome Creek was 
radiocarbon dated at 32,700 ± 980 B.P. (ST-1632). 

A remarkably well-preserved carcass of a large-horned bison was found in 
perennially frozen silt during the course of mining at Dome Creek in 1951. 
The specimen consists of a head, complete with hide, hornsheaths and an ear, 
and the lower part of the body, including the four legs with hooves (Figure 15). 
Hide and hair from this carcass gave a radiocarbon date of 31,400 ± 2,040 B.P. 
(ST-1721). Pieces of fur and hide from a Bison crassicornis cow from 
Fairbanks Creek have yielded a radiocarbon date of 11,980 ± 135 B.P. 
(ST-1633), which approaches the terminal date for this species in eastern 
Beringia (Péwë 1975a). 



FIGURE 15. Partial carcass of an extinct large-horned bison 

(Bison crassicornis) from perennially frozen silt of 
Wisconsin age on Dome Creek near Fairbanks , Alaska. 
The collector, the late Otto Geist, is examining a 
fragment of the hide. Photograph by T.L. Péwé. 


A nearly complete carcass of a small extinct muskox, possibly 
Bootherium sargenti, was preserved in deposits on a creek near Fairbanks. 
Samples of hair and dessicated flesh from the specimen gave dates of 
17,210 ± 500 B.P. (SI-454) and 24,140 ± 2,200 B.P. (SI-455) respectively. 
A hornsheath from this species yielded a radiocarbon date of 22,540 + 900 B.P, 
(SI-292). Hair and droppings were found with a skeleton of the extinct 
muskox Symhos cavifrons . The droppings, which are slightly larger than the 
typical winter pellets of the tundra muskox (_Ovibos moschatus) , gave a 
radiocarbon date of >40,000 B.P. CSI-291). Analysis of plant detritus in the 
Symbos pellets suggested that the animal had been feeding on a rather dry site 
with grasses and sedges (Harington 1968). A hornsheath from another Symbos 
specimen from Cleary Creek was dated at 25,090 + 1,070 B.P. (SI-850). 
Probably Bootherium sargenti and Symhos cavifrons are female and male, 
respectively, of the same species. 

Several complete ground-squirrel carcasses have been found in nests in 
permafrost. Radiocarbon analyses of nest material and ground-squirrel 
droppings from sites on the Chatanika River gave dates of 14,760 + 850 B.P. 
(GX-0250) and 14,510 ± 450 B.P. (W-2703) respectively (Pewe 1975b). As the 
samples were below and above the Chatanika Ash Bed, they helped to provide a 
date for it. Such ash deposits are widespread in Alaska and the Yukon, and 
their mineralogical characteristics are like fingerprints, which may allow 
correlations of ice-age deposits over long distances. Seeds of Arctic 
buttercup {Ranunculus hyperboreus) and a cinquefoil {Fotentilla sp.) found in £ 
ground-squirrel cache of Wisconsin age on Dome Creek suggest the former 
presence of tundra-like conditions there. 

The discovery of a complete mummified pika from 50 feet (15.2 m) below the 
surface near Chatanika indicates that the alpine fauna spread into the 
lowlands, and occupied a drier more steppe-like environment than now prevails 
there. It also suggests that Ochotona princeps aollaris and 0. princeps 
princeps subspeciated in Beringian and southern réfugia respectively 
(Guthrie 1973). 

Carcasses of ice-age mammals usually show some signs of decay, and rather 
than explaining such cases by a catastrophically sudden change of climate and 
a consequent "deep- freezing" of northern species like the mammoth (Sanderson 
1960), it is most likely that many of the animals died naturally or 
accidentally in autumn and were covered by near- freezing sediments, such as 
solifluction deposits (Péwé 1975a). Various possiblities of this sort are 
mentioned by Farrand (1961) and Vereshchagin (1974). 


A.E. Porsild (personal communication, 1970) told me about an interesting 
case that bears on this problem. In July 1947, about 25 of 150 reindeer 
(Rangifer tarandus) that went down to the beach for a drink at Nicholson 
Peninsula, Northwest Territories, became mired in solifluction muck below 
the sea cliffs. Porsild helped the herders to pull out 18, but 7 could not 
be saved and were "sucked under" in a very short time. Presumably they are 
well preserved in permafrost, and should they be exposed by relative uplift 
and erosion of the area in future would probably look like the mammal 
carcasses of late-Pleistocene age found in Alaska and Siberia. 

Ice-age vertebrate remains have been reported from many areas other than 
Fairbanks. Perhaps the most important of these is Cape Deceit on Kotzebue 
Sound, where the oldest sediments (early Pleistocene — ?Nebraskan) contain 
the first North American record of the Eurasian rodent Tliomys and the most 
primitive representatives of other rodents whose members dominate 
contemporary tundra faunas, such as Prediorostonyx hopkinsi and Miarotus 
deceitensis (Guthrie and Matthews 1971). 

L.S. Quackenbush (1909), who led an American Museum of Natural History 
expedition in search of Pleistocene vertebrate remains in 1907 and 1908, made 
many valuable observations in the vicinity of Eschscholtz Bay, which adjoins 
Kotzebue Sound to the east. He reported 10 genera and 14 species of 
Pleistocene mammals from this region. Among the most interesting of the 
specimens that Quackenbush (1909:107-10) collected was a partly articulated 
skeleton of an individual mammoth {Mammuthus sp.) embedded in floodplain 
sediments at Historic Bluff. The skeleton comprised the following parts: 
right half of the pelvis, the femur, tibia and fibula, four small foot-bones, 
skull fragments and two tusks, mandible with teeth, six thoracic vertebrae, 
several caudal vertebrae including the end of the tail encased in skin and 
hair, several broken ribs, and some pieces of flesh, skin, underwool, and 
coarser hair. A small, thin patch of chewed green grass was cut out of 
frozen sandy silt close to the mandible. Fragments of caribou tibia and 
possibly caribou dung (four small oval droppings), a wolf skull, and a 
complete horse phalanx appear to have been associated with the mammoth. 

Other faunas are known from Tofty and Lost Chicken Creek. 

Pleistocene vertebrate fossils have been reported on the Arctic Coastal 
Plain for many years (Pêwé 1975a). I have identified the following mammals 
from a collection of fossils made by W. Quaide along the Kuk and Ikpikpuk 
rivers: Canis cf. lupus (wolf), Ursus cf. arotos (brown 'bear) , Mammuthus 
primigenius (woolly mammoth), Equus (Asinus) lambei (Yukon wild ass). Aloes 
aloes (moose), Rangifer tarandus (caribou). Bison orassioornis (large -horned 


bison) , Saiga tatarica (saiga antelope) , Ovibos mosahatus (tundra muskox) . 
These specimens are probably of late-Pleistocene age. 

Remains o£ woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) have been discovered 
occasionally on St. Paul Island in the Pribilofs and on Unalaska and 
St. Lawrence islands (Ray 1971). They provide direct evidence that mammoths 
occupied these parts of the Bering Isthmus during glacial phases of the late 

Marine-mammal remains are known from sites mainly near the west coast of 
Alaska. C.A. Repenning has provided unpublished preliminary identifications 
of many of these fossils. Walrus (^Odobenus sp.) fossils have been reported 
from Sangamon interglacial deposits at Nome and near Point Lay at the mouth 
of the Kokolik River, from late-Pleistocene sediments south of Kuk Inlet, 
and from Nelson and St. Lawrence islands. Remains of sea lion (^Eumetopias sp.) 
have been reported from Sangamon deposits on St. Paul Island and Amchitka. 
Fossils of northern fur seal {iCallorhinus sp.), harbour seal {Fhoaa vitulina) 
and ringed seal (P. (Pusa) hispida) have been reported from various 
Pleistocene strata in western Alaska. Whale vertebral discs of possible 
Pleistocene age were collected near the mouth of the Inglutalik River 
(Péwé 1975a). A radius fragment of a large whale was found in Sangamon 
gravels on Amchitka. 

Of great interest is the discovery of remains of Steller's sea cow 
(Hydrodamalis gigas) from beach deposits 35 metres* (115 ft) above sea level 
on Amchitka in the Aleutian Islands (Gard, Lewis and Whitmore 1972). A piece 
of sea-cow bone was submitted for uranium series dating. The Th^^o ^^d Pa^^^ 
dates (135,000 ± 12,000 B.P. and >122,000 B.P.) are considered concordant, 
and, in conjunction with the presence of unweathered till overlying the beach 
deposit, indicate that Steller's sea cow occupied this part of the North 
Pacific during Sangamon time. Hydrodamalis may have evolved from an ancestor 
such as Metaxytherium on the margins of the North Pacific during the early 
Pliocene. During glacial maxima, sea cows — like walruses — evidently 
ranged much farther south than they did in historic time, as is indicated by 
a radiocarbon date of 18,940 + 1,100 B.P. (SI-115) on a Hydrodamalis gigas 
skull-fragment brought up in a trawl from the bottom of Monterey Bay, 
California (Jones 1967). 

*See footnote on p. 64 

Fishes are rarely reported from Alaskan Pleistocene deposits. Remains of 
small freshwater fishes have been identified from Unit B at Tofty, which may 
range from late Pleistocene to Recent in age (Repenning, Hopkins and Rubin 
1964). Fish remains recovered from estuarine silt of Sangamon age at Nome 
(Hopkins, MacNeil and Leopold 1960; D.M. Hopkins, personal communication, 
1976) include most of a postcranial skeleton of a starry flounder 
(Platiohthys stellatus) , identified by W.I. Follett, and two premaxillae and 
a mandible of a rock sole (Lepidopsetta bilineata) , identified by J.E. Fitch. 
This material was found with a pair of walrus tusks and a mollusc fauna that 
is distinctive of Pelukian (Sangamon) marine deposits in northwestern Alaska. 

Bones of unspecified birds of Pleistocene age have been reported from the 
Fairbanks area, but they are rare (Péwé 1975a). The shaft of an eagle 
(?Aquila sp.), possibly of late -Pleistocene age was collected by Quaide on the 
Kuk River. Gizzard stones of birds from Wisconsin loess at Eva and Ready 
Bullion creeks near Fairbanks were probably mainly produced by ptarmigan or 
grouse (Hoskin , Guthrie and Hoffman 1970). 

Artifacts associated with late-Pleistocene mammal remains that were 
exposed in the course of placer-mining operations in central Alaska were 
reported as early as 1933. During 1933 to 1938, 19 artifacts were recorded 
from the muck deposits along six streams near Fairbanks. Two fluted points 
were found in situ 60 feet (18.2 m) from the surface. One of these was 
directly associated with bones of a young "mastodon" (Rainey 1940) , which I 
suggest were probably from a woolly mammoth. 

Evidence concerning 1960 to 1970 research on early man in Alaska has been 
summarized by Irving (1971). A series of bison bones, including a calcaneum, 
that were broken by man were found in the lowest levels of Cave 9 near Trail 
Creek (Larsen 1968). The calcaneum gave a radiocarbon date of 13,070 ± 280 
B.P. (K-1327), and bone from a horse scapula found in front of the cave was 
radiocarbon dated at 15,750 ± 350 B.P. (K-1210). At the Village Site near 
Healy Lake, radiocarbon analysis of burnt bone yielded a date of 
11,090 + 170 B.P. (GX-1341). Six teardrop- shaped points and other stone 
artifacts are evidently associated with the radiocarbon-dated material. 
Fluted points have been reported from a number of sites in Alaska. Notable 
among these are obsidian fluted points from Batza Tena (Clark 1972; Clark and 
Clark 1975), and four fluted points with Clovis affinities from a site in the 
Sagavanirktok Valley (Alexander 1971). The latter may be of early 
postglacial age. Perhaps these fluted-point sites are indicative of a 
northward dispersal of Palaeo- Indian hunters into Alaska that paralleled their 
movement into the Canadian Shield (e.g. Acasta Lake and Grant Lake sites in 
the Northwest Territories) . But more evidence is required to determine 


whether fluted points originated in southern or northern North America. 

28. Lost Chicken Creek, Alaska (placer locality below highway — 
64°03.2'N, 141°52.6'W ) 

Mammals - Pantheva leo atrox (American lion) , Mammuthus primigenius 
(woolly mammoth), Equus (Asinus) lambei (Yukon wild ass), 
Equus (Asinus) cf. kiang (Kiang-like wild ass), Cervus elaphus 
(wapiti) , Rangifer tarandus (caribou) , Bison crassiaovnis 
(large-horned bison), Symbos cavifrons (extinct muskox) , 
Ovis cf. dalli (large mountain sheep). 

Suggested Age - Late Wisconsin, Horse {Equus sp . ) and bison 

{Bison sp.) bone yielded radiocarbon dates of 26,760 + 300 B.P. 
(SI-355) and 10,370 + 160 B.P. (1-8582) respectively. 

Remarks - Presumably the fossils are mainly from the base of the 

frozen black organic silt. This muck unit reaches thicknesses 
of 8 to 12 feet (2.4 to 3.7 m) . It is underlain by 1.5 to 15 
feet (0.5 to 4.6 m) of gold-bearing gravels and sands that cover 
the local bedrock, and is overlain by 1 to 4 feet (0.3 to 1.2 m) 
of buff silt. The mammals probably occupied a cool steppe-like 

References - Harington 1974 field notes; Whitmore and Foster 1967. 

29. Fairbanks area, Alaska (Fairbanks Creek, Engineer Creek, Cripple Creek , 
Gold Hill, Eva Creek, Ready Bullion Bench, Sheep Creek, Chena Ridge, 
West Dawson Cut — see Guthrie 1968a, b for locality details ) 

Mammals - Lepus sp. (hare), Spermophilus parryi (ground squirrel), 
Dicrostonyx torquatus (collared lemming) , Lemmus sibiriaus 
(brown lemming), Microtus (Stenoavanius ) miurus (singing vole), 
Microtus xanthognathus (chestnut cheeked vole) , Canis lupus 
(wolf) , Canis latrans (coyote) , Ursus arctos (brown bear) , 
Panthera leo atrox (American lion) , Felidae {iHomotherium sp. , 
scimitar cat) , Mammut ameriaanum (American mastodon) , Mammuthus 
primigenius (woolly mammoth), Equus sp. (horse), Camelops sp. 
(camel), Cervus elaphus (wapiti). Aloes latifrons (giant moose). 
Aloes aloes (moose), Rangifer tarandus (caribou). Bos sp. 
(yak-like bovid) , Bison orassicornis (large -horned bison). 
Saiga tatarioa (saiga antelope), Boôtherium sp. (extinct muskox), 
Symbos oavifrons (extinct muskox), Ovibos mosohatus (tundra muskox), 


Ovis dalli (Dali sheep). 

Suggested Age - Late Pleistocene (Illinoian to Wisconsin, but mainly 
Wisconsin) . 

Remarks - Deposits at Fairbanks, Engineer and Cripple creeks consist 
mainly of Wisconsin-age silt, but pre-Wisconsin sediments are 
present. The Gold Hill site is on a bench o£ Cripple Creek, 
and although Wisconsin sediments are present most deposits are 
of Illinoian age. 

The section at Eva Creek has been described previously in the 
text. The Coldstream Formation (Wisconsin) and the Gold Hill 
Loess (Illinoian) produce most of the vertebrate fossils. At 
Ready Bullion Bench, two gravel layers are separated by about 
2.5 metres* (8.2 ft) of brown silt at the base of the section. 
Overlying these gravels is a greenish silt unit 2 metres 
(6.6 ft) thick (?Illinoian) and 12 to 14 metres (40 to 60 ft) of 
frozen loess (Wisconsin). There is a thin surface deposit of 
postglacial age. At Sheep Creek, brown silt with fossil tree- 
roots overlies basal gravel on the west wall. Woody silts, peat 
and volcanic ash are exposed 3.5 to 5 metres (11.5 to 16.4 ft) 
above the basal gravel. On the east wall, part of a greenish 
silt unit (?Illinoian) was exposed. The contact between it and 
the overlying unit, possibly containing reworked Sangamon 
fossils in Wisconsin deposits, lay approximately 15 metres 
(49 ft) above the basal gravel. Unreworked loess containing an 
ash layer was exposed at Chena Ridge. Organic loess enclosing 
a partial mammoth skeleton was exposed at the West Dawson Cut. 
Wood from this deposit has been radiocarbon dated at >29,000 B.P. 

Bison, horse and mammoth are the commonest species recorded from 
the large mammal localities (Fairbanks, Engineer and Cripple 
creeks, and Gold Hill). The high percentage of grazing mammals 
suggests that this part of central Alaska was basically a 
grassland environment during the late Pleistocene (Illinoian and 
Wisconsin). Trees were present in interglacial times. Giant 
moose ^Alces latifrons) , moose [A. aloes) and American mastodon 
(Mammut ameriaanum) suggest the presence of trees, although 
specimens representing these mammals are rare. The singing vole 
(Microtus (Stenoaranius ) miurus) dominates Illinoian and 
Wisconsin rodent faunas, indicating that the region was above the 
tree line and was characterized by well-drained grassland. 

* See footnote on p. 64. 


Extinction of the singing vole, ground squirrel and collared 
lemming in interior Alaska suggests a rapid reduction of their 
preferred grassland habitat at the end of the Wisconsin. 

Matthews' s study (1974b) of pollen and of plant and 
invertebrate macrofossils from a 27-metre (90 ft) core from the 
Fairbanks area provides a palaeoenvironmental profile of the 
latter half of the Wisconsin glaciation. He suggests that from 
35,000 to 32,000 B.P., during a mid-Wisconsin interstadial , the 
spruce tree-line was lower than at present. The late-Wisconsin 
environment was characterized by steppe— tundra vegetation and a 
severe Arctic climate. By 8,500 B.P., spruce forests and some 
associated boreal species had returned to the area. 

References - Frick 1930, 1937; Geist 1953; Guthrie 1968a, 1968b, 
1972; Matthews 1974b; Péwé 1975b; Skinner and Kaisen 1947. 

30. Sullivan Pit, Alaska ÇTofty Placer District — 65°05'N, 150°52'W) 

Fishes - "Small fish" (species not determined) . 

Mammals - Lepus sp. (hare), Spermophilus pavryi (arctic ground 

squirrel), Castor sp. (beaver; indirect evidence from gnawed 
wood), Diarostonyx torquatus (collared lemming), Synaptomys sp.* 
(bog lemming) , Lemmus sibiriaus (brown lemming) , Clethrionomys 
sp. (red-backed vole), Miovotus ( Stenoaranius ) miurus (singing 
vole), Miarotus sp. (large vole), Proboscidea (mammoth or 
mastodon), Equus (Asinus) sp. (wild ass), lAloes sp. (moose), 
?Rangifer sp. (caribou). Bison sp. (bison), Caprini (probably 
sheep) . 

Suggested Age - Late Pleistocene (probably Wisconsin to postglacial), 

Remarks - Four stratigraphie units are recognized. Evidently the 

upper two, units A and B, were deposited between 1760 and 1916, 
when material was excavated or eroded from older sediments 
higher on the slopes and redeposited. Unit A consists of 10 to 
30 feet (3.1 to 9.1 m) of silt. Logs extracted from a mass of 
beaver-gnawed wood near the top of the unit yielded radiocarbon 
dates of 6,730 ± 260 B.P. (W-1108), while wood from one foot 
(0.3 m) above the base of the unit is more than 38,000 years old 
(W-1113). Remains of moose (7Alces sp.) and bison were found in 
this unit. Most vertebrate fossils are from unit B, which is a 

*C.A. Repenning (personal communication, 1976) considers this identification 
untrustworthy. The specimen is lost. 


discontinuous channel fill consisting of gravel, sand and silt 
cut 2 to 15 feet (0.6 to 4.6 m) into sediments of unit C. Wood 
from unit B yielded dates of less than 200 B.P. (W-1106, W-1111), 
200 ± 200 B.P. (W-937) and 2,520 ± 200 B.P. (W-891). This 
unusual sequence of dates may have resulted from reworking of 
sediments in the course of placer operations. Shells of 
pelecypods and gastropods and remains of insect and plant 
macrofossils were also derived from unit B. Unit C consists of 
5 to 20 feet (1.5 to 6.1 m) of grey muck, whose base grades into 
unit D. Wood from near the top of unit D, which consists of 10 
to 20 feet (3.0 to 6.1 m) of gravel, sand and silt, gave a 
radiocarbon date of more than 39,000 B.P. (W-895). Units C and 
D are probably of Wisconsin age. Unit D is underlain by slate, 
phyllite, and greywacke of Cretaceous age. 

It is difficult to interpret this fauna in palaeoenvironmental 
terms. Fossils from units A and B represent a mixture of forest 
(e.g. rooted spruce stumps, beaver-gnawed wood, and remains of 
red-backed vole, Clethrionomys sp.) and steppe— tundra forms (the 
remainder of the fauna). Presumably the steppe— tundra mammals 
have been concentrated from Wisconsin age sediments of unit C, 
while the moist- forest element lived in spruce woodland that 
existed in the area during postglacial time. 

Reference - Repenning, Hopkins and Rubin 1964. 
31. Cape Deceit, Alaska (66°05'N, 162°50'W — Cape Deceit Formation ) 

Mammals - Sorex sp. (shrew), Oahotona whartoni (giant pika) , 
Marmota sp. (marmot), Spermophilus sp. (ground squirrel), 
Prediarostonyx hopkinsi (Hopkins's lemming), Lemmus cf. sihiricut 
(brown lemming) , Fliomys deeringensis* (Deering meadow mouse) , 
Miarotus deceitensis (Cape Deceit vole), Canis sp. (?wolf) , 
Equus sp. (large horse), Cervus cf. elaphus (wapiti), Rangifev 
sp . (caribou) . 

Suggested Age - ?Nebraskan (pre-Cromerian) . Matthews (1974a) 

considers that the Cape Deceit Formation was deposited between 
400,000 and 900,000 years ago, but this estimate may be too 
young. The early evolutionary stages represented by 
Prediorostonyx hopkinsi and Miarotus deceitensis are important 
indicators of the age of this fauna. 

•Chaline (1975) argues that this animal represents the oldest known heather 
vole and should be called Phenaaomys deeringensis . 


Remarks - Vertebrate fossils are from sand and silt facias of the 

Cape Deceit Formation, which consists of two units separated by 
a peat layer. Most of the large mammal fossils are from Unit 1, 
which consists mainly of gravels, sands and organic silts 
2.5 metres* (8.2 ft) thick with interbedded peaty zones. 
Solifluction structures are present. Mammal fossils are 
concentrated in thin sand beds throughout the grey organic silt 
3.5 metres (11.5 ft) thick that dominates Unit 2. This unit 
contains frost structures and is capped by silty peat. The 
overlying Inmachuk Formation of ?Kansan (?Mindel) age is 
approximately 4 metres (13.1 ft) thick, and consists of 
oxidized sand and reworked loess, with a deformed and truncated 
zone of peaty silt near the contact with the overlying Deering 
Formation. Sparse remains of Pliomys sp. and Miarotus sp. are 
reported from the Inmachuk Formation. The Deering Formation of 
?Yarmouth to postglacial age is 3 to 4 metres (9.8 to 13.1 ft) 
thick, and consists of two mainly organic silty units bounded 
by peat zones. Frost cracks occur near the surface of Unit 1. 
Teeth of Hensel's lemming {^Diorostonyx cf. henseli) came from 
near the base of Unit 1, which appears to be of Illinoian age. 
Fossils of the collared lemming (D. torquatus) , brown lemming 
(Lemmus cf. sibirious) and vole (Miarotus sp.) have also been 
reported from the Deering Formation. Peat separating Units 1 
and 2 yielded a date of >39,900 B.P. (1-4099), and appears to be 
of Sangamon age. Radiocarbon analyses of wood below the surface 
peat of Unit 2 and from the base of the surface peat yielded 
dates of 12,420 + 180 B.P. (14781) and 9,150 + 150 B.P. (14780) 
respectively. They indicate that Unit 2 includes deposits of 
Wisconsin to postglacial age. 

Stratigraphie features demonstrate that mammals from the Cape 
Deceit Formation lived in a tundra environment. Palaeobotanical 
data support the idea that a herbaceous tundra with rare alders 
and birches and abundant cinquefoils (Potentilla sp.) covered 
the region during ?Nebraskan time. 

Guthrie and Matthews (1971) infer from the evidence at Cape 
Deceit that the contemporary mammal fauna of the tundra has had 
a longer time to adapt to Arctic tundra conditions than was 
previously suspected. They postulate the existence of a 
Beringian mammal realm that periodically contributed to the 
faunas of more southerly regions of Eurasia and North America. 

*See footnote on p. 64 

References - Guthrie and Matthews 1971; Matthews 1974a. 


In conclusion, I wish to review briefly some of the important features of 
the Quaternary vertebrate faunas of Canada and Alaska in sequence from oldest 
to youngest, and in relation to a few of the better-known faunas of 
northeastern Siberia (Appendix) and the Great Plains of the United States. 
The preliminary nature of much of the faunal evidence from northern North 
America and consequently of the conclusions I draw from it must be emphasized. 

Only in the last ten years has it become clear that early- and middle- 
Pleistocene vertebrate faunas are present in Canada and Alaska. The oldest 
of these are faunas from Cape Deceit, Alaska, and Wellsch Valley, 
Saskatchewan. The former appears to be of ?Nebraskan age, and evidently lived 
in herbaceous tundra surroundings. The Cape Deceit lagomorphs and rodents are 
particularly interesting. Oohotona whartoni is a giant pika that may have 
lived in grasslands rather than on scree slopes, as do its living North 
American relatives. It may have survived in Alaska until Illinoian time, for 
a complete skull with mandibles, which Péwé (1975b) considers to be of that 
age, was collected from the Gold Hill Cut near Fairbanks. However, the 
mandible of the Gold Hill specimen is smaller than those of giant pika 
described from Cape Deceit and Old Crow (Harington 1976 MS) , and it may only 
represent the upper size range of Oohotona prinaeps during the late 
Pleistocene in eastern Beringia. I have referred two giant-pika mandibles from 
the Old Crow Basin to 0. cf. whartoni. 1 think they could be of early 
Pleistocene age. Predicrostonyx hopkinsi is more primitive in tooth 
characteristics than the collared lemming Diarostonyx torquatus , and slightly 
more primitive than an early species of Diarostonyx described from the Olyor 
fauna (?Kansan) of the Kolyma Lowland in northeastern Siberia. The earliest 
North American record of Pliomys (P. deeringensis ) is from Cape Deceit. It 
seems to be more primitive than P. episoopalis and P. lenki from early middle 
Pleistocene assemblages in Eurasia. There appears to be little difference 
between Miarotus deaeitensis and some Microtus specimens from the Olyor fauna 
(Matthews 1974a) . 

The Cape Deceit fauna also includes the earliest known North American 
records of caribou (Rangifer sp.) and wapiti (Cervus cf. elaphus) . Until 
recently these deer were considered to be late Pleistocene immigrants from 
Eurasia to North America (Guthrie 1966; Hibbard et al. 1965). The hoof of a 
large horse {Equus sp.) represented in the fauna may be comparable to a large 
horse {E . (Plesippus) sp.) that Sher (1971a) reports from the Begunov suite 


(?Nebraskan) of the Kolyma Lowland. 

Of great interest is the identification of fossils of Microtus deceitensis 
and Pliomys cf. dee ring ens is at Wellsch Valley, which may indicate a roughly 
similar age for the Cape Deceit and Wellsch Valley faunas and a southern 
invasion from Beringia about Aftonian time. Perhaps the muskox represented at 
Wellsch Valley travelled a similar route. Crucial in this fauna are fossils 
of the southern mammoth {Mammuthus cf. meridionalis) and the bone-eating dog 
{BoTophagus diversidens) . The former is the most primitive North American 
species of mammoth (Maglio 1973). It probably entered from Eurasia near the 
beginning of the Pleistocene, about 2 million years ago, and this record could 
be one of the earliest for North America. Borophagus diversidens may be a 
late survivor. Again, it suggests a very early Pleistocene age for the 
Wellsch Valley fauna. The species has also been reported from the Blanco 
fauna, which Hibbard (1970) considered to be of Aftonian age. 

Thus, the Wellsch Valley fauna consists of northern and southern elements. 
The former includes Pliomys^ Microtus, Synaptomys, Mammuthus, and a muskox 
(Ovibovini) . Most of the remaining genera have southern North American 
affinities, and this faunal element is perhaps most closely related to the 
Cita Canyon fauna of Texas and the Cudahy fauna from Kansas and Texas. 
Hibbard (1970) considered these to be of Aftonian and Kansan ages, 

Comparison of the fauna of Kansan age at Medicine Hat with the Wellsch 
Valley fauna shows that the southern mammoth {^Mammuthus meridionalis) 
persisted on the southern plains of Canada, as did prongbucks and camels. 
The earliest record of ground sloths derived from the south may indicate the 
presence of more shrubs and trees, while the beaver denotes moist habitat. 
Bone-eating dogs had given way to primitive wolves iCanis cf. etruscus) . The 
Etruscan wolf characterized Villaf ranchian faunas of Europe, and perhaps gave 
rise to the living wolf Canis lupus. 

Mammoths {Mammuthus sp.) and large-horned bison {Bison arassicornis) are 
first recorded from Alaska in deposits that may be of Kansan age (Table 1). 
Primitive, small, high-horned muskoxen {Soergelia) dispersed rapidly 
throughout the Holarctic region about this time, occurring in Germany, Siberia^ 
the Yukon Territory, and Texas. 

The first record of the giant bison {Bison cf. latifrons) on the North 
American plains is from Yarmouth interglacial deposits near Medicine Hat. The 
species does not seem to have established itself in the Great Plains of the 
United States until early Illinoian time. It is reasonable to consider the 


"blossoming" of the horns of this species a response to its competitive edge 
following introduction to the highly productive grassland environment of the 
southern plains. Bison latifrons survived until late Wisconsin time in Idaho 
(McDonald and Anderson 1975). Jefferson's ground sloth (Megalonyx jeffersoni) 
first occurs in southwestern Canada during this interglacial. Evidently it 
had an adaptive advantage in northern regions not found in other ground sloths, 
for by Sangamon time it still lived in southwestern Canada and was the only 
member of this group to have reached eastern Beringia. By Yarmouth time, the 
southern mammoth had been replaced by the Columbian mammoth (Mammuthus columhi). 

It is worth noting that the genera and species of mammals represented in 
the Yarmouth fauna of Medicine Hat all occur in the following Sangamon 
interglacial fauna from this locality. A remarkable f aunal , and by 
implication environmental, uniformity continued throughout this relatively 
long period of time. Indeed, a basically uniform dry-grassland fauna seems 
to have lasted in the southwestern plains of Canada until Wisconsin time, 
when the woolly mammoth {Mammuthus primigenius) reached the area. 

As would be expected, there is a great similarity in the mammal faunas of 
eastern and western Beringia during the Illinoian glaciation. Although 
species may differ, every genus identified from the Utka Beds C^l^te Illinoian) 
of the Kolyma Lowland in eastern Siberia (Appendix, Fauna 3) has been reported 
from deposits of probable Illinoian age in Alaska (e.g. Oahotona, Dicrostonyx, 
Lemmus , Miarotus , Mammuthus , Equus, Rangifer, Alaes, and Bison) (Table 1). 

So far, no vertebrate faunas of definite Illinoian age have been recorded 
in Canada, although horse, caribou and mammoth fossils as well as beaver-cut 
wood have been collected from the basal-clay unit of the Old Crow Basin, 
which may be of that age. However, mammals of Illinoian age are better known 
in Alaska, and they serve to outline major trends occurring then. The great 
proliferation of muskoxen during this phase should be noted. Staudinger's 
muskox {Praeovibos) and Ovibos, which evidently originated in Eurasia, and the 
Symbos oavifrons-Bootherium sargenti group, unknown outside of North America, 
suddenly appear in Alaska. Staudinger's muskox may be an index fossil of 
Illinoian deposits in the Beringian refugium. The rather sparse evidence 
available points to that conclusion. Praeovibos has been reported from the 
Olyor fauna of the Kolyma Lowland, from the Fairbanks area of Alaska, and 
from deposits along the Old Crow and Porcupine rivers in the Yukon Territory, 
but it did not reach the southern plains of North America. The Symbos 
oavifrons—Bootherium sargenti group and Ovibos probably stemmed from a similar 
ancestral stock, although the former shows a few more primitive features and 
may have evolved in broad alpine- valley environments, which perhaps allowed its 
later dispersal into the spreading steppe-like grasslands and parklands of 


North America during the late Pleistocene. Ovihos adapted to colder tundra 
and Arctic-steppe conditions. 

The dhole {Cuon) seems to have entered North America about Illinoian time 
(specimens are known from Alaska and the Yukon) with the American lion 
{Panthera leo atrox) , moose {Aloes sp.), saiga antelope {Saiga tatarica) , 
mountain sheep (Ovis sp.) and possibly the brown bear (Ursus sp.). Brown 
bears had spread to eastern North America by Sangamon or early-Wisconsin time. 
This massive entry of Eurasian mammals into North America is related to their 
pre-adaptation to cool, dry conditions in northern Asia and the development of 
broad Arctic-steppe grasslands on the Bering Isthmus, which prompted their 
eastward dispersal to fresh range in another continent. 

Four, or possibly five, vertebrate faunas in Canada seem to be of Sangamon 
interglacial age. Although land-mammal faunas of this age are lacking in 
Alaska so far, one appears to be present in the Old Crow Basin of the Yukon 
Territory. It is a peculiar mixture of cool steppe or tundra species such as 
arctic hare {Lepus aroticus) , arctic fox {Alopex lagopus) , mammoth (Mammuthus 
sp.), caribou {Rangifer tarandus) ; moist woodland species such as beaver 
{Castor canadensis) , giant beaver {Castoroides ohioensis) , muskrat {Ondatra 
zibethicus) , and red-backed vole {Clethrionomys cf. rutilus); and "warmer- 
adapted" species such as spotted skunk {Spilogale sp.) and camel (Camelinae) . 
Muskrats, and presumably the moist habitats they occupy, were widespread at 
this time, for specimens are also reported from deposits of possible Sangamon 
age in the Kotzebue Sound area of Alaska as well as in Sangamon faunas from 
Medicine Hat and the Great Plains of the United States (Hibbard 1970). 

There is evidence of an influx of "warmer-adapted" species to eastern 
Beringia from the south about this time. At least for a short period, the 
giant beaver {Castoroides ohioensis) , ground sloth {Megalonyx jeffersoni) , 
camel {Camelops sp.), badger {Taxidea taxus) , spotted skunk {Spilogale sp.), 
short-faced bear {Arctodus simus) and woodchuck {Marmota cf. monax) survived 
there. The American mastodon {Mammut ameriaanum) may have arrived slightly 
earlier, during Illinoian time (Table 1). The American lion {Panthera leo 
atrox) may have spread south during this interglacial. 

The Sangamon rodent faunas of Old Crow River (Locality 44) and Medicine 
Hat broadly reflect the differences that exist in the present interglacial 
between rodent faunas of the southern Canadian prairies and the Alaska-Yukon 

Sangamon faunas of the Canadian prairies (Medicine Hat, Fort Qu'Appelle) 
have the following species in common: wolf {Canis sp.), Columbian mammoth 


{Mammuthus aolumbi) , medium- sized horse (Equus seotti) , western camel 
{Camelops hesternus) and giant bison {Bison latifrons) . Except for the wolf, 
the Saskatoon fauna, which may be of Sangamon age, has all these mammals. 
Bison, probably mammoth, and a moose-like deer are common to the Sangamon 
faunas of Fort Qu'Appelle and Toronto. The giant beaver occurs in Sangamon 
deposits of Toronto and the Old Crow Basin (Locality 44) without intervening 
records. Perhaps it was able to disperse rather rapidly northwards into the 
Yukon during the Sangamon through chains of lakes that evidently tend to 
form along the southern margin of the Canadian Shield during interglacial 
phases. There are no records of the giant beaver from Alaska. 

Marine mammals have shifted their latitudinal ranges greatly during the 
late Pleistocene. Remains of walrus {Odobenus rosmarus) , sea cow 
(Hydrodamalis sp.) and sea lion (Eumetopias sp.) have been reported from 
raised beach deposits of Sangamon age in Alaska. Evidently walruses and sea 
cows ranged as far south as San Francisco during the peak of the Wisconsin 
glaciation, and returned northwards to the Bering Strait in postglacial time. 
Sea cows were exterminated by man about 1768, and the fate of the Pacific- 
walrus herds is by no means certain. 

The woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) is a valuable indicator of 
Wisconsin-age deposits in southern Canada and the northern United States. 
An early type of the woolly mammoth is known from ?late- Illinoian deposits in 
eastern Siberia (Utka Beds), and the advanced type was well established there 
by early-Wisconsin time (ledoma Suite) . An unknown type of mammoth 
{Mammuthus sp.) occupied Alaska during the Illinoian glaciation. The woolly 
mammoth was well established in Alaska and the Yukon Territory in Wisconsin 
time. It first appeared on the Canadian prairies (Medicine Hat) during the 
early Wisconsin, and had reached southern Ontario (Woodbridge) by the mid 

The similarity of western and eastern Beringian mammal faunas during the 
Wisconsin glaciation is remarkable. Unlike the situation in Illinoian time, 
most species were shared. Of 22 mammalian species represented in the 
Wisconsin deposits of eastern Siberia (ledoma and Alioshka suites; Appendix, 
Faunas 1 and 2) , 21 are known from Wisconsin deposits of Alaska and the 
Yukon Territory. The woolly rhinoceros {Coelodonta antiquitatis) did not 
migrate from Eurasia to North America. Among the Wisconsin genera of the 
Alaska— Yukon region not reported from faunas of similar age in the Kolyma 
Lowland of Siberia are: Sorex (shrew), Megalonyx (ground sloth). Castor 
(beaver), Clethrionomys (red-backed vole), Erethizon (porcupine), Arotodus 
(short-faced bear), Taxidea (badger), Lynx (lynx), Mammut (American mastodon), 
Camelops (camel). Bos (yak-like bovid) , Symbos and Bo'otherium (extinct muskox) 

and Ovis (mountain sheep). As mentioned previously, a number o£ these seem to 
have been survivors of a northern surge of animals from southern North America 
that occurred before the peak of the Wisconsin glaciation. 

The Wisconsin faunas of the Canadian prairies are characterized by the 
woolly mammoth (Mammuthus pvimigenius) , Mexican wild ass {Equus (Asinus) 
conversidens) , western camel (^Camelops hesternus) , and bison (Bison sp.), 
whereas the contemporaneous faunas of eastern Beringia are characterized by 
the woolly mammoth, Yukon wild ass (Equus (Asinus) lambei) , large-horned 
bison {Bison crassicornis) , caribou {Rangifer tarandus) , wolf {Canis lupus) 
and the American lion {Panthera leo atrox) . The basic similarity of the 
Mexican, Yukon and living Asiatic wild asses has been pointed out previously, 
and a detailed comparative study is required to find whether or not they are 
conspecific (Harington and Clulow 1973). 

Rapidly accumulating evidence from the unglaciated areas of the Yukon 
Territory and Alaska shows that human populations were present in eastern 
Beringia at least 30,000 to 25,000 years ago. Remains of a child from near 
Taber in southern Alberta suggest that people occupied that part of the 
prairies before the peak of the Wisconsin glaciation. Probably these early 
North Americans came from eastern Eurasia, although as yet no adequately dated 
archaeological sites of this general age have been described from eastern 
Siberia (Chard 1974). Moreover, evidence, mainly in the form of such 
characteristic stone tools as fluted and lanceolate spear-points, suggests a 
broad northward movement, as the Wisconsin ice retreated, of PalaeoT Indian 
hunters from southern North America to the Canadian Atlantic coast, Ontario, 
the northern prairies, southern British Columbia, the Canadian Shield, the 
Yukon, and Alaska. But it is still problematic whether fluted points 
originated in southern or northern North America. 

The Meadowcroft Rockshelter in Pennsylvania apparently contains the 
earliest dated evidence of man in northeastern North America (Adovasio et al. 
1977). It is a well -stratified archaeological site showing signs of human 
occupation beginning at least 16,000 years ago. Perhaps from this region, 
caribou-hunting Palaeo- Indians moved northeastwards to occupy the Debert site 
in Nova Scotia about 10,600 years ago, and northwards to occupy the Parkhill 
site in southern Ontario between about 10,500 and 9,700 years ago. Farther 
west, in the United States and the southern Canadian prairies, where 
Palaeo-Indian sites are more common, mammoths and bison were important prey. 
Palaeo-Indian hunters killed and butchered bison at the Fletcher site in 
southern Alberta during early postglacial time. At approximately the same 
time (9,000 years ago), they occupied sites on the Fraser River in British 
Columbia, where salmon fishing seems to have been their basis of subsistence., 


These people gradually spread northwards into' the southwestern Yukon 
Territory, killing bison at the Canyon site approximately 7,000 years ago. 
By about that time, they had also occupied the Acasta Lake and Grant Lake 
sites in the Northwest Territories, where, as at Debert, caribou (this time 
the barren-ground rather than the woodland subspecies) were probably their 
basic prey. The ability of Palaeo- Indian hunters to adapt to survival on 
various kinds of prey in vastly differing habitats is worth noting. 

Many characteristic ice-age mammals died out between approximately 10,000 
and 8,000 years ago. This can be readily observed, for Canadian postglacial 
faunas such as those at Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa, Oxbow Dam, Medicine Hat 
(Fauna 1) and Acasta Lake, include only living species. The latest reliable 
radiocarbon date on a member of the extinct Quaternary megafauna in Canada 
appears to be about 7,700 B.P. for a mammoth (probably Mammuthus primigenius) 
from the Peace River region of Alberta. Many American mastodons died in 
southern Ontario between 12,000 and 9,000 years ago. Once-numerous herds of 
Yukon and Mexican wild asses died out completely. The most recent radiocarbon 
date pertaining to the extinction of the Mexican wild asses in Canada is about 
11,000 B.P. (Cochrane), although Churcher and Stalker (1970) suggest that, on 
the basis of stratigraphy, the species may have survived until 8,000 years ago 
near Pashley, Alberta. Radiocarbon dates on large-horned bison {Bison 
crassicornis) from Fairbanks and Old Crow indicate that they survived until 
12,000 years ago in eastern Beringia. The western bison (S. bison 
ocoidentalis) seems to have given way to the smaller horned plains bison 
(S. h. bison) and wood bison (S. b. athabasaae) later in the postglacial. 
Large specialized predators of the extinct Quaternary megafauna, such as the 
American lion (Panthera leo atvox) , the scimitar cat (Homotherium serum) , the 
sabretooth cat (Smilodon floridanus) and the short-faced bear {Arctodus simus), 
similarly died out. It is widely known that mammals of other continents also 
suffered late-Quaternary extinctions (Martin 1967). 

Why did such conspicuous extinctions of seemingly well -adapted, abundant 
mammals occur so late in the Quaternary? After all, many had survived earlier 
severe glacial phases. Although the question is not yet resolved, it should, 
be noted that the extinction of large ice-age mammals in North America 
coincided with a rapid environmental warming and a rise in the number of 
people highly skilled in big-game hunting. Perhaps both these factors 
contributed to the extinctions. 

On the basis of my experience in studying Quaternary palaeoenvironmental 
conditions in eastern Beringia, I am inclined to consider rapid environmental 
change as the most important cause of extinction in that region. Widespread 
peat deposits in the Yukon and Alaska, which originated about 11,000 years ago 


according to many radiocarbon dates on their bottom layers, and a 
simultaneous spreading of spruce forest at the expense of cool steppe- 
grasslands, which evidently prevailed during the coldest phases of the 
Wisconsin glaciation, must have increasingly restricted the range and number 
of many of the large grazers, such as woolly mammoths, wild asses and large- 
horned bison. The apparent scarcity of important early-postglacial mammoth, 
horse, and bison archaeological kill-sites in eastern Beringia militates 
against extermination by hunters, although the probable killing of these 
animals by early man in the Old Crow Basin about 30,000 to 25,000 years ago 
may have depleted prey locally. Another point not readily explained by the 
human overkill hypothesis is that perhaps the most easily killed herd-animals, 
the economically valuable muskoxen (Ovibos mosohatus) , survived in the Yukon 
until about 2,800 years ago and in northern Alaska until about 1858 
(Harington 1970a] , despite the presence of human hunters since at least 
mid-Wisconsin time. 

Concerning the extinction of the large Quaternary mammals in southern 
North America, it is worth emphasizing that although mammoth and bison 
archaeological kill-sites are known, bison still survive, and relatively few 
mammoths were killed at any of perhaps a dozen recorded sites (Wheat 1971). 
Caribou seem to have been heavily hunted by Palaeo- Indians in eastern North 
America, yet they survived. 

Horses — notably Equus (Asinus) lambei in the northwest, and 
E. (A.) aonversidens and E. saotti in the south — were so numerous and 
widespread in North America during the late Wisconsin that the lack of horse 
archaeological kill-sites suggests a cause of extinction other than man. 
Further, despite abundant finds of mastodon remains in late-Vtfisconsin deposits, 
sites where they have been killed by man are virtually unknown (MacDonald 1971). 
On the basis of existing evidence, I think it is an oversimplification to 
select human overkill as the main reason for late-Quaternary megafaunal 
extinctions in North America. 

Although many scientists have studied this problem and much radiocarbon 
evidence is available on the times of extinctions of various species, there 
is still no generally accepted explanation. Perhaps a useful approach to the 
problem is to study it region by region. Detailed research on sensitive 
palaeoenvironmental indicators — such as insects, plant macrofossils , pollen 
and mollusc shells in the extremely well preserved sediments of unglaciated 
Alaska and the Yukon Territory — accompanied by finer geochronological 
control and more extensive archaeological and vertebrate palaeontological 
evidence, may help to solve the problem in eastern Beringia. 



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Several of the most important Quaternary vertebrate faunas from 
northeastern Siberia are listed below so that they may be readily compared 
with those of Canada and Alaska. In addition to the lists of species, 
associated information, where available, is provided for each of these 
western Beringian faunas. 


1 . Kolyma Lowland (Alioshka Suite — lower Kolyma River ) 

Mammals - Lepus cf. tanaitiaus (hare) , Mammuthus primigenius (woolly 
mammoth) , Equus aaballus (very small horse) , Bangifer tarandus 
(caribou), Bison prisaus ssp. (very small bison). Saiga tatariaa 
(saiga antelope) . 

Suggested Age - Late Pleistocene (late Wisconsin). 

Remarks - Fossils are from sands which form a large, low depositional 
plain on the lower Kolyma River. The mammals represented, 
particularly the saiga antelope, suggest dry, level grasslands 
with little snow cover in winter. 

References - Sher 1971a, 1971b. 

2. Kolyma Lowland (ledoma Suite — right bank of the Kolyma River between the 
mouths of the Omolon and Anyui rivers ) 

Mammals - Oahotona sp. (pika) , Lepus cf. tanaitiaus (hare), 

Spermophilus cf. parryi (arctic ground squirrel), Diarostonyx 
torquatus (collared lemming) , Lemmus obensis (=?Lemmu8 sihiriaus) 
(Ob or ?brown lemming), Miarotus (Stenoaranius) sp. (vole), 
Canis lupus (wolf), Alopex lagopus (arctic fox), Vulpes vulpes 
(red fox) , Ursus aratos (brown bear) , Gulo gulo (wolverine) , 
Panthera leo spelaea (cave lion) , Mammuthus primigenius (late 
type of woolly mammoth) , Equus aaballus (small type of caballine 
horse), Coelodonta antiquitatis (woolly rhinoceros), Cervus 
elaphus (red deer), Alaes alaes (moose), Bangifer tarandus 
(caribou). Bison prisaus longiaornis (= Bison arassiaornis) 
(large-horned bison). Bison sp. (small bison with short 
horncores), Ovihos mosahatus (tundra muskox) . 

Suggested Age - Late Pleistocene (early Wisconsin). 

Remarks - This suite of sediments consists of a thick succession of 
silty, fine sands and loams with a high ice content. It forms 
the upper part of the section in the high interfluves of the 
Kolyma Lowland. Analyses of fossil spores and pollen in these 
deposits indicates a change from dry, cold steppe-tundra to 
forest-tundra characterized by birch and larch. Most of the 
mammals represented are indicative of cool, steppe grasslands. 

References - Sher 1971a, 1971b. 

3. Kolyma Lowland (Utka Beds — right bank of the Maly Anyui River ) 

Mammals - Oahotona sp. (pika) , Diarostonyx cf. torquatus (collared 
lemming) , Lemmus obensis ( = ? Lemmus sibiriaus) (Ob or ?brown 
lemming) , Miarotus cf. oeaonomus (tundra vole) , Mammuthus 
primigenius (early type of woolly mammoth), Equus aaballus 
(large caballine horse), Rangifer tarandus (caribou), Alaes sp. 
(large moose), Bison sp. (bison). 

Suggested Age - Middle Pleistocene (Riss II = late Illinoian). 

Remarks - Fossils are from sands overlying bedrock and underlying 
silty fine sands containing a late Upper Palaeolithic mammal 
fauna. In some localities peat separates the Utka Beds from 
more recent deposits. The Utka Beds are characterized by fossil 
spores and pollen of tundra and forest-tundra. Palaeobotanical 
analysis of a peat deposit in these sediments indicates the 
former presence of birch-larch forest in the region. The 
mammals represented are indicative of a cool, steppe grassland. 

References - Sher 1971a, 1971b. 

4. Kolyma Lowland (Olyor Suite — right bank of Chukochiya River; see 
Sher 1971b, Figure 1 ) 

Fishes - Dallia sp. (blackfish) . 

Birds - Gavia immer (Common Loon) . 

Mammals - Sorex cf. daphaenodon (shrew), Oahotona sp. (pika), 
Lepus sp. (hare), Spermophilus sp. (ground squirrel), 
Trogontherium sp. (Eurasian giant beaver), Diarostonyx spp. 
(two species of collared lemming) , Lemmus cf. obensis 
(=?Lemmus cf. sibiriaus) (Ob or ?brown lemming), Clethrionomys 
sp. (red-backed vole), Miarotus cf. ( Stenoaranius ) gregalis 
(singing vole), Miarotus sp. or Allophaiomys sp. (vole), 
Canis sp. (?wolf), Panthera cf. leo spelaea (cave lion). 


Ursus sp. (bear), Mammuthus sp. (maïïimoth) , Equus (Plesippus) 
verae (large horse), Cervidae (deer), Alaes latifrons (giant 
moose), Rangifer sp. (caribou). Bison sp. (bison), Soevgelia sp. 
(Soergel's muskox) , Praeovibos beringiensis (Bering muskox) . 

Suggested Age - Remarkable faunal similarities between the mammals 
of the Olyor Suite and those from Tiraspol, SUssenborn and 
Mosbach indicate an early middle Pleistocene age (Mindel = 
?Kansan) for the fauna. 

Remarks - The Olyor Suite consists of a sequence of horizontal beds 
of fine loamy sands separated by thin layers of alluvial and 
autochthonous peat. At their irregular upper surface, the fine 
sands of the suite are overlain by late Pleistocene fine loamy 
sands with ice wedges suggestive of a cool periglacial 
environment. Bones from the Olyor Suite are so dark from deep 
staining by minerals in the groundwater that they can be 
recognized even when they have been washed out of the source 
beds. Analysis of spores, pollen and plant macrofossils from 
the Olyor sediments indicate that the environment was much like 
the present in that region. Of the 60 plant species identified 
from macrofossils, only a few species of Potamogeton and 
Ceratophyllum are unknown in the present Arctic flora in the 
lowland. The only tree remains are of larch, willow and birch. 
Fossil spore and pollen spectra indicate the prevalence of cool, 
tundra-like grasslands with steppe elements were predominant 
when this fauna lived. Similar conclusions about the 
environment are suggested by the vertebrate fauna. Blackfish 
{Dallia pectoralis) occupy heavily- vegetated ponds, streams and 
lakes. They are most common in tundra, but also occur in 
forested areas. Common Loons indicate the presence of 
freshwater lakes. Patches of moist woodland are suggested by 
Eurasian giant beaver. The red-backed vole remains suggest the 
presence of shrub habitat. Most of the remaining species are 
indicative of cool, tundra-like grasslands. 

References - Sher 1971a, 1971b; Giterman 1973. 

5. Kolyma Lowland (Begunov Suite — right bank of the Kolyma River between 
the mouths of the Omolon and Berezovka rivers ) 

Mammals - Mimomys sp. (vole), Equus (Plesippus) sp. (large horse), 
Praeovibos cf. prisaus (Staudinger ' s muskox). 

Suggested Age - Probably early Pleistocene (=?Nebraskan) . 


Remarks - Fossils are from a basal unit that grades from pebbles at 
the bottom to sands in the upper part of the deposit. Analyses 
of fossil pollen and plant macrofossils from the sediments 
suggest a gradual development of larch-spruce-birch forests in 
the region. It is a cooler flora than Pliocene floras of the 
Omoloi type. The presence of vole, large horse and Staudinger's 
muskox fossils may indicate the former existence of a cool 
parkland (e.g. grassy tracts among clumps of coniferous and 
birch forest) . 

References - Sher 1971a, 1971b. 

6. Aldan River (tributary of the Lena River, below its juncture with the 
Amga River; see Vangengeim 1961, Figure 1 ) 

Mammals - Oohotona hyperborea (pika) , Lepus timidus (varying hare) , 
Spermophilus parryi (arctic ground squirrel). Castor fiber 

(beaver) , Diorostonyx torquatus (collared lemming) , Lemmus 
obensis (= ?Lemmus sibiricus) (Ob or Thrown lemming), 
Clethrionomys nutilus (red-backed vole), Miorotus oeconomus 

(tundra vole) , Miorotus hyperboreus (nortiiern vole) , Miorotus 

(Stenooranius ) gregalis (singing vole). 

Suggested Age - Late Pleistocene (Illinoian) . The fauna most likely 
corresponds to the period of maximal (Riss) glaciation. 

Remarks - Fossils are from a number of exposures of deposits of the 
second terrace above the floodplain of the Aldan River. The 
sedimentary sequence in the second terrace progresses upward 
from gravels and sands (about 10 to 30 metres (32.8 to 98.4 ft) 
above stream level) through alluvial sandy clay (about 30 to 
50 metres (98.4 to 164.0 ft) above stream level) and soliflucted 
sandy clay (about 50 to 100 metres (164.0 to 328.1 ft) above 
stream level). Generally, the faunal remains indicate a cool 
steppe grassland environment. The beaver fossil suggests that 
patches of moist woodland were present, and the red-backed vole 
remains may indicate that shrubby areas once existed there. 
Permafrost features in the sediments indicate the prevalence of 
periglacial conditions. Furthermore, many of the species 
represented by fossils are far south of their present arctic 

Reference - Vangengeim 1961. 


Bolshoi Lyakhov Island, New Siberian Islands (southern tip) 

Fishes - Esox luaius (northern pike). 

Mammals - Lepus timidus (varying hare) , Diarostonyx torquatus 

(collared lemming), Lemmus obensis [=?Lemmus sibiriaus) (Ob or 
?brown lemming), Canis lupus (wolf), Alopex lagopus (arctic fox), 
Panthera leo spelaea (cave lion) , Mammuthus primigenius (woolly 
mammoth), Equus oaballus (horse), Coelodonta antiquitatis (woolly 
rhinoceros), Aloes aloes (moose), Rangifer tarandus (caribou). 
Bison prisons longioovnis (= Bison crassioornis) (large-horned 
bison) , Bison prisons aff . deminutus {=?Bison bison oooidentalis) 
(small-horned bison). Bison prisons ssp. (possibly another 
subspecies of bison), Ovibos mosohatus (tundra muskox) . 

Suggested Age - Late Pleistocene (?Illinoian to Wisconsin). 

Remarks - The bones were not found in situ. According to 

N.N. Romanowski the fossils are derived from deposits with 
secondary-veined masses of ice occurring on lagoonal sediments. 
The ice veins suggest a periglacial environment. The mammals 
represented strongly indicate the former presence of an arctic 
steppe environment at the site during the late Pleistocene. 
Although the bones are somewhat eroded on spits and beaches 
where they were found, evidently they were not transported far. 
The presence of pike in the fauna is particularly good evidence 
that Bolshoi Lyakhov Island was a part of the Siberian mainland 
during glacial maxima of the late Pleistocene. 

Reference - Vangengeim 1961. 

Proliv Dmitriya Lapteva (south shore, east of Mys Svyatoy Nos; see 
Vereshchagin 1974, Map 1) 

Mammals - Mammuthus primigenius (woolly mammoth), Equus sp. (horse), 
Rangifer tarandus (caribou). Bison sp. (small bison), Ovibos 
mosohatus (tundra muskox) . 

Suggested Age - Late Pleistocene ('/Wisconsin). 

Remarks - Fossils are from sediment approximately 20 metres (65.6 ft) 
below the surface in silty bluffs about 40 metres (131.2 ft) 
thick that contain ice veins. Probably the upper 5 to 8 metres 
(16.4 to 26.3 ft) of loess-like loam with remains of alder, 
birch and willow is of postglacial age. The mammals represented 
are indicative of an arctic steppe or tundra-like environment. 

Reference - Vereshchagin 1974. 


Berelekh River (western tributary of the Indigirka River at 71°N ) 

Birds - Lagopus sp. (ptarmigan). 

Mammals - Homo sp. (indirect evidence from bone and stone artifacts 
found 60 to 80 metres (196,9 to 262,5 ft) downstream from the 
deposit), Lepus sp. (hare), Cants lupus (wolf), Gulo gulo 
(wolverine), Panthera leo spelaea (cave lion), Mammuthus 
primigenius (woolly mammoth), Equus sp, (horse), Coelodonta 
antiquitatis (woolly rhinoceros) , Rangifer tarandus (caribou) , 
Bison sp. (bison) . 

Suggested Age - Late Pleistocene (late Wisconsin) . A mammoth tusk 
yielded a radiocarbon date of 12,240 + 160 B.P, Human hunters 
may have occupied the area approximately 10,000 years ago 
(Vereshchagin 1974, p, 10), or could have been contemporaneous 
with the remainder of the vertebrate fauna. 

Remarks - At this locality the Berelekh River cuts through a hill 

16 m (52.5 ft) high exposing an upper unit of light grey loess 
approximately 5 metres (16.4 ft) thick. This loess of late 
Wisconsin age is underlain by approximately 11 metres (36.1 ft) 
of organic alluvial silt of mid-Wisconsin interstadial age. 
The bones are derived from the upper loess unit. The vertebrate 
fauna and the grey loess from which it was derived suggest a 
cool loess steppe environment. 

Reference - Vereshchagin 1974. 



No. 7 Legendre, Vianney, J.G. Hunter and Don E. McAllister (1975) 


No. 8 McAllister, Don E. (1975) 


No. 9 Tynen, Michael J. (1975) 


No. 10 Jarzen, David (1976) 


No. 11 Chengalath, R. (1977) 


No. 12 The KTEC Group (1977) 


No. 13 Jarzen, David M. (1977) 


No. 14 Argus, George W., and David J. White (1977) 


No. 15 Harington, C.R. (1978)